TMR Sales & Service Ltd.
Taking service one step further
Business View Caribbean interviews Jimmy Clarke and Peter Thompson, Managing Directors of TMR Sales & Service Ltd., for our focus on Best Businesses in Barbados.
TMR Sales & Service Ltd. (TMR) is the one of the largest commercial/industrial electrical and HVAC contractors in Barbados. The Company’s services include designing, supplying, and maintaining electrical services, air conditioning, ventilation, fire alarm and security systems, as well as data communications for commercial, industrial, and residential customers.
A privately-owned Barbadian company, TMR employs an experienced team of engineering, finance, HR, and MIS professionals, along with a cadre of supervisors and project coordinators, to ensure that all work is adequately planned and executed, with a vision “to be the Caribbean’s leading provider of electrical, HVAC and Life safety solutions.”
The Company had its inception at the start of the electrification process of sugar factories in Barbados as EJE Haynes & Partners. Its founder, Mr. Edward J. E. Haynes, was responsible for the design, supply, and installation of electrical systems in those sugar factories in the 1950s. Over the years, TMR Sales & Service expanded and changed hands several times and now operates under the ownership of TMR’s Managing Directors, Jimmy Clarke and Peter Thompson. The Company’s present facility in Fontabelle consists of offices, storage warehouses, workshops, duct shop, training room, and staff facilities.
Thanks to its extensive engineering and design capabilities, TMR Sales & Service is able to offer a high level of service to its customers. Engineering expertise and CAD systems provide cost-saving alternatives to customers’ own specifications. We work closely with the customers’ representatives, M&E Engineers and other design consultants, to offer efficient and effective installation of the building’s services. If required we can also offer design, supply and install options for the client for any electrical, Life Safety and/or HVAC systems to be installed. CAD systems automate the production of blueprints and specifications, produce a schedule of required assemblies, and assist in selecting materials and equipment.
Peter Thompson, TMR Sales & Service Managing Director of Operations, explains, “Back in the ‘50s, we did a lot of electric work in the sugar factories. Today, we’re pretty much a building services company, offering contracting and maintenance services (everything except plumbing) to the residential, commercial, and industrial industry in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. We do have a retail store, catering mainly to the trades, and operate from a single physical location here in St. Michael, Barbados.”
Commercial work represents the largest volume of TMR Sales & Service business at 60 to 70 percent, with a large and diverse demographic of commercial customers. The majority of residential work is an offshoot of the commercial sector, involving residential systems in commercial buildings. The residential only portfolio of the Company accounts for only approximately 10 percent of business, while the industrial portfolio realises the remaining 20 to 25 percent of the revenues. TMR Sales & Service’s approximately 140 permanent employees obviously enjoy the company culture as some persons have tenure as long as 40 years whilst the average tenure of service is about 25 years. More than 80 technicians on the team are dedicated to service work. The firm’s roster also includes 10 temporary workers, plus sub-contractors.
Some projects, where massive equipment needs to be delivered and installed, create logistic challenges, but TMR has the process well in hand. Managing Director (Corporate), Jimmy Clarke, explains, “We use a typical project management approach, making sure, logistically, that you have the sub-contractors, the crane equipment, etc. in place, whenever you need to put the actual unit onto, in most cases, a commercial building. It’s very detailed and all depends on the size of the project and site location and conditions. They can take from four weeks to a few months, or longer. All the project management is done in-house. We have several project coordinators that will effectively manage each individual project; see it through from the planning and design phase, right through to the installation phase.”
Units installed by TMR Sales & Service are imported from the U.S., Europe, and the Far East. The length of time for procurement depends on the item. If it’s in stock in the U.S., delivery takes about two weeks. If it has to be built at the factory, it could take eight weeks lead time, or more. From the Far East, delivery could take four months from the initial procure through the manufacturing and shipping process Planning has to be carefully done, taking into consideration project deadlines and equipment requirements. TMR also offers maintenance contracts for clients to prolong the operating life of the equipment. Contracts vary from one to two years depending on specific customer needs.
According to TMR Sales & Service Finance Manager, Rotchell Roberts, “We have a small sales team, but we are embarking on a program where every employee in the field becomes a salesperson. Essentially, if you go out to repair or service equipment, and you see there’s a need for the customer to have another piece of equipment, then you can notify that client and come back and give that lead to our sales team. We have primary bankers for financing. In most cases, especially for large projects, TMR will negotiate any mobilization fees or upfront deposits, so some things are financed to an extent throughout the project, but usually it’s covered in the costing of the various contracts.”
IT Manager, Wayne Sobers, weighs in on the Company’s competitive advantages, stating, “We are the largest company of our type in Barbados, although there are other companies that do various other kinds of related services. Basically, we distinguish ourselves by the type and quality of work we do. The TMR brand is synonymous with quality. People generally find that, even though we may be a bit expensive, the quality and care in the work our technicians provide tends to be better than what most other companies in the region are providing now.”
Training is an ongoing process. Some workers require certification in order to operate equipment. TMR Sales & Service also provides other in-house skills training, health & safety – the whole gamut. As in most countries, the availability of skilled labor is an issue in Barbados. Paula Pitt, Director of Human Resources notes, “We have an arrangement with the National Training Board, where we have apprentices that we train for two or three years, depending on their level of experience. For the most part, we retain those apprentices as employees. At the end of the program, they’ll be integrated into our culture and understand how to technically do the work and they’ll know our customers. It’s really quite unique.” While every customer is important, two long-term business relationships are especially notable. Sagicor Insurance and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) have worked with TMR for many years and continue to be valuable components of the firm’s success.
Looking ahead, Company representatives give their views on future goals for TMR Sales & Service. “From a financial perspective, it would be to maintain our customer base and make sure we protect and increase our market share,” says Roberts. “Operating in the current economic environment to, basically, implement a strategy of cost containment and try to increase efficiency in every way. We want to remain profitable, provide great service for our customers, and maintain the strength of our brand.”
Jimmy Clarke adds his strategic vision. “We’re an integrated building services company and, going forward, we’ll keep growing and building on that as the nature of buildings changes and evolves with net zero, net positive, smart buildings. There are communications, sensors, systems, and the Internet of Things – everything is all interconnected. We see our role for services within buildings, themselves, expanding. That also means we need to be fully connected, internally. Not just amongst ourselves, but with our customers, our suppliers – everyone. There’s a lot more data because all these things occur real-time, and managing the various systems is all done from a single point. It’s quite an interesting time for building services.”
From a corporate perspective, Thompson reports, “We’re embarking on ‘green’ initiatives, including our first electric vehicle. The vehicles we have now use fossil fuels and we’re moving toward green power for our fleet. That includes solar power and whatever develops in the future for solar energy. We’re also looking to expand further into the region. Obviously, it depends on the economy, but that’s where we’d like to be, as a corporation, in the next five years. I always have a positive outlook – in times of hardship you have to look at opportunities that exist and not dwell on what you’re facing, but what you can get out of it.”
On the role of technology, Thompson adds, “The World has been exposed to a lot of trauma. Technology is there to support early warning detection systems; gone are the days when we should say we’ve lost a life unnecessarily. There is technology available where you can see, in advance, the development of natural occurrences in real time, for example, a tsunami’s development and path can be monitored and communication to the masses using data that is public and already being used in technological advanced societies; similarly, hurricane development, as well. Maybe even future monitoring of earthquake activity. This data can be used to make intelligent decisions. We can provide the type of software required to deliver intelligent solutions. I’d like to see TMR Sales & Service as a catalyst to provide that sort of information to the Government here in Barbados, and regionally, providing early detection systems that prevent loss of life from natural phenomena. I’d like us to not only be a fire alarm and security service provider, but a company that provides intelligent information for life safety solutions from a national and regional perspective, as well.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: TMR Sales & Service Ltd.
WHAT: Leading Caribbean provider of electrical and HVAC solutions
WHERE: Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados
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