This November Managing Director of Solutions SK, Stephen Morris, was interviewed by PURE FM’s June Somehk on her radio show, New Horizons.
The interview gave the listeners of Stockport an in depth insight about Solutions SK and what we do as a business.
With the 28 businesses that we run, as June said herself, “There isn’t an awful lot that Solutions SK doesn’t do”.
Solutions SK are a privately owned company. Whilst owned by Stockport Council, Stephen explained in the interview that,
“Solutions SK is very much run as an arm’s length organisation from the Council”, and that we welcome private work from businesses in the Borough and surrounding areas.
As a facility management company we have expertise in waste management, arboriculture, signs, banners and lighting, security, commercial cleaning and much, much more. Over the last few years, Solutions SK has seen the introduction of new business managers, many who come from more commercial backgrounds. In addition to this, we recently launched a new website to further showcase the exciting changes and growth within the business.
See below for some facts and figures that Stephen pointed out during the interview:
To contact us for more information, please do so on 0161 474 5584/ firstname.lastname@example.org or for Business Development/Marketing queries phone 0161 474 5563.
If you missed the interview which was aired on Sunday 27th November, listen here now.
Start of the transcript:
June: This is New Horizons on Pure. My guest today is Stephen Morris. Stephen you’re the Managing Director or do you call yourself the CEO, people have different names for themselves in your position of Solutions SK, So which are you?
Stephen: I am the Managing Director June.
June: Right OK, so what’s SSK and what exactly do you do?
Stephen: Well, Solutions SK is a privately owned company. It is wholely owned by Stockport Council and is very much run as an arm’s length organisation. What do we do? I think the things most people notice is that we do the domestic refuge collect in and around Stockport. We tend to also look after the parks and green spaces; we keep the streets clean and tidy. We do all the reactive pot hole repairs; so when all the roads are being dug up and there’s traffic queues, we are not always popular.
June: (Laughs) you surprise me
Stephen: We always look after the street lights around Stockport and then on a different side of the business, we supply school meals to 55 primary schools in the area.
Stephen: And we supply security, run a commercial waste business, and a commercial cleaning business.
June: And I’m going to interrupt you there. There isn’t an awful lot that Solutions SK doesn’t do but (laughs) I have to say that actually, Stephen has in front of him, you could almost say a bible (laughs) of things that they do. So if you could run through that, it would be quite useful.
Stephen: I was going to stop there anyway to be honest with you. They’re the main parts of our business that people in Stockport and the Stockport community will see.
Stephen: We’ve got 28 businesses but I am not going to bore the listeners.
June: That’s useful. So, how did you come to be MD?
Stephen: I was approached by head hunters to see if I would like the job. When I looked at it, I realised that it was with the Council ownership – and with us doing a lot of work for the Council, I knew it would be very interesting and a very challenging job.
June: And what was your background Stephen?
Stephen: Well my background is mainly work in construction, property and building maintenance. Those are the kinds of businesses I’ve run before.
June: So if I as a private individual and I wanted some work done, would you be able to help me?
Stephen: Yes. We’re obviously under the central government funding regime, but we realise that only working for Stockport Council is not a way for the future. So now we’re looking for private work as well. We do a lot of private work already and the type of things that we do, where we are selling our services out and about, is signs and barriers, that’s all sorts of barriers – metal, gates, cleaning, security and interestingly, a lot of arbs work – tree cutting. Our arbs team can deal with any difficult trees you may have, where you may have tree preservations – those are things we can help with.
June: With killing them?
Stephen: Ha No, it’s often isn’t the case. It’s more likely cases where you might have a large oak tree in your garden that you really need prooning back but you can’t because of a tree preservation order. What we can do is we can guide you to your limit on how far back you can go with it. We can then trim the tree properly so it doesn’t die and it’ll carry on growing.
June: Yes, and anything else that you do?
Stephen: We do waste collection on a private basis so at the night time, in the evening and early hours of the morning, we go around Stockport businesses taking waste away.
June: So, if any one needs to contact Solutions SK and get help, how would they go about it?
Stephen: Well, we’ve just launched our new website, www.solutionssk.co.uk. On our website you can contact us and we’re just about to introduce a whole new bank of customer telephones – which we will be advertising in January.
June: As a technophobe, you’ve cheered me up telling make that you’ve got telephone lines because there are a lot of people wanting to use your services – and I’m one who is, but I’m not very keen to go online if it’s possible to do contact people in a different way.
Stephen: And I agree with you, because you know what I want, is proper customer telephone banks where you’re answered by people, not by machines – because we are all hate that problem don’t we?
June: (Laughs) anyway, thank you very much for that and is there anything else you wanted to say?
Stephen: I think the big thing is that with us, you get the expertise of a big business. Solutions SK has 837 employees out and about doing work, generally working in clusters of 1,2 or 3. They’re out there facing the public all the time. We’re often not thought about until your bins are not collected or your child doesn’t get a school meal, and that doesn’t happen very often. Out of those 837 people, 765 are out there doing the doing. They’re out there physically doing work. 87% of our people are local Stockport people. We’re a big employer of local people. We are very much into employing apprentices too. We’ve just had an intake of 16 apprentices – all local people and we are trying to get some youth introduced into our business.
June: You gave me some interesting figures earlier. Will you tell me how many bins you collect a year and how many meals you serve and then I’ll let you go because I know you’re off to Iceland very shortly. (Laughs)
Stephen: Actually when we were chatting I gave you the wrong figures on the bins. Most people have no idea of how many bins are collected in Stockport each year. Well, it’s 14.4 million bins a year. That’s on a 5 day week and the only days we don’t work are Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
June: How would people contact you if they need you to do a job for them?
Stephen: If they have a complaint about work we’ve done through the Council, they do need to complain through the council website. But if they would like us to come and see them about a private job, they can reach us on 0161 474 5584.