Interview with John Dignan

Interview with John Dignan

John Dignan rbecame the Owner and the MD of Dynamic EMS, ten years after he started with the company as their Sales Director, having already spent many years in the industry.

By Gayle Paterson, Columnist and Buzzword Tech Account Director.  Published in SMT Today pages 24 & 25

Dynamic EMS now employs close to 100 staff and has grown rapidly under John’s leadership, I asked John to share some of the secrets of his success.

Quote:  Your success is a wonderful achievement and highlights a real personal and professional commitment to Dynamic EMS.  Is this a model you plan to take forward into the company, where anyone can reach the top?

Quote:  “I think it’s important to hold the door of opportunity open for every person –so anyone with commitment can indeed ‘reach the top’ however that is defined.”

  1. Gayle: What culture and leadership style would you say you bring to the organisation and how has it been received and adopted? 

John:  I think the company operates a very paternalistic, open culture towards its employees who have served the company well, over many years.  With an average service of 18 years, our employees are truly an inspiration for me in the way they approach their ‘day to day’ work and their loyalty to ensure that Dynamic EMS achieves its aspirations.

I‘d suggest I am consultative in my leadership style placing accountabilities for the day to day running of the business with the management team, but still very hands on. The management team are given clear direction and are results driven, with a focus on providing demonstrable evidence in the decision-making process. I would hope that this style would attribute to the performance of the company that has grown in revenue terms 26% in 2014 and is in a good position to grow in 2015.

The overall direction of the company and its performance is disseminated to all employees in our ‘speech to the nation’ on a monthly basis. The senior leadership team (including directors) have ‘shared objectives’ that are measurable and presented on a monthly basis and form the basis of our KPI (Key Performance Indicators) dashboard

As an Individual I have ‘external mentors’ (former colleagues etc.) who advise on strategy as well as evolving the strategy with other board members. The Dynamic EMS board meets daily to discuss performance. Strategy and overall alignment of ‘shared objectives.’

I believe Dynamic EMS Ltd. is very fair with employees and as I said, our staff turnover is less than 1%.  We have employees here who have served the company through its evolution for more than 35 years. We offer our employees good benefits and this is reflective of our retention.

  1. Gayle: You’ve gone from Business Development to Owner and MD, what does a typical day look like now, and how does your new position challenge you?

Typical days for me have always started early, around 5.30, where I am usually reviewing emails and planning calls etc. over a cup of tea. Our first ‘meet of the day’ is usually around 8 am followed by our ‘morning prayers’ session where the directors meet at 9 am to review previous days outputs, misses and opportunities. Typical days end around 6 PM, but I am generally available until 9 pm.

I think the biggest challenges the company faces is ensuring that we continue to develop mutually beneficial business relationships with new customers as well as growing the company organically. Our customer retention is very positive as we have adopted a “Service Model” that allows the company to be very responsive to the increasing demand of the EMS industry. In our industry margins are very thin and this is always a challenge.

  1. Gayle: What can you tell me about the future, new partnerships, products or plans for continued growth and investment?

Dynamic EMS are always continuing to build its ‘business ecosystem’ with a variety of organisations that will ultimately result in some form of customer engagement in the near to mid-term. As the company grows we will be strategic also in our investments and look for ROI.

Dynamic EMS has developed a sales strategy that is very much sector based and diversified in ‘niche’ technologies which look to attract like-minded individuals who value our service offering. I think that the growth has come by deploying this strategy and by choosing the right customers to engage with. We have also engaged and enjoyed success with a number of significant industrial sector based customers.

I see Dynamic EMS continuing to grow its UK indigenous business with the potential to grow on an international basis as we look to attract more European based customers.

It very important to understand the need of the customer and indeed the needs of our customers’ customer. Having been with Dynamic EMS for ten years the majority of our customer base was captured in my role as Sales Director so I have a good personal relationship at a CEO level, this definitely helps.

Gayle:  Once again thank you, John.  I will continue to read about Dynamic EMS with great interest and wish you continued success.

Bio:  John has been part of the EMS industry for 30 years and has held senior operational and sales roles within Solectron, FCI Areva, Northrop Grumman and Plexus Corporation.  He joined Dynamic EMS in 2005 as Sales Director and became Managing Director in 2011.  In 2014 John acquired Dynamic EMS Ltd.

John studied electrical and electronics engineering and then in later years completed an MBA at Edinburgh University and is also a Fellow of ISMM (Institute of Sales and Marketing Management).