With the end of a very successful sales year upon us, we thought it would be a great opportunity to reflect back on the history of D R Newitt, our Managing Director, Stephanie Newitt and find out a little more about how the company was started.
When people in the food manufacturing industry hear the name D R Newitt, they immediately think of Steph. Her reputation in the sector has been built over the past 14 years through hard work, effectiveness with people and her ability to produce results.
With a presence across Scotland, England and Wales, D R Newitt is now home to over 50 members of staff based in their offices in Edinburgh and Manchester.
In the short time that I have worked alongside Steph, it became apparent very early on that she is a formidable and strong personality focused on continuously driving the company forward. Steph has a very clear direction to where the company is going and has a keen eye for detail. This keeps everybody on their toes and creates an incredibly hard-working environment.
Running a successful business of this magnitude requires the ability to make quick decisions and good judgment calls on a daily basis. Every action that is taken is based on her vision and reflects the business mission statement.
As an employee of D R Newitt, you really get the feeling that you are respected and appreciated. Steph has the unique ability to inspire everybody here at D R Newitt to challenge themselves, which encourages continual personal development.
It’s rare in the business world to have a Managing Director who is as approachable as Steph. Her office doors are always open with a readiness to help staff with day to day recruitment issues. In order to inspire her employees, Steph initiated a set of unique and inimitable incentive schemes to reward the consultants encouraging everybody here at D R Newitt to hit their targets and beyond.
I recently caught up with Steph and asked a few questions to gain a deeper understanding of her journey from a Trainee to Managing Director.
How did you first identify a need for recruitment in the food and drink industry?
This was back in 1994, I started recruiting for another company and was there for 8 years. During my time I worked up from a Trainee Consultant to Sales Director for the company. I was then put on a food desk which was only a tiny margin of the turnover – they mainly concentrated on areas like IT and computing. Whilst the department was growing I realised this was a massive market and thought if we could do this in Scotland we can do this in England and the rest of the UK too. Food manufacturing in the UK is worth millions which highlights the prominence of the industry. It’s also ever changing due to the way people eat – if you go to a supermarket today, just take a moment to look around at all the brands. There are 1000s and they are always changing. At the moment there is a huge drive towards healthy eating. I love the industry, it’s exciting, fast moving, a great market with great people. People who are forward-thinking individuals who are always developing new ideas and producing lines in new and unique ways. It’s great.
What was your journey like to get where you are? Did you encounter any obstacles during the 14 years to get where you are now?
The only obstacle we encountered was in 2007- the recession. It was unclear how the food industry was going to be affected. Would consumers turn to more value brands or would they look for high-end products to eat at home like the M&S Dine in for Two range?
As a business, it was challenging for me because the banks started to regress and change their finance agreements with firms. I didn’t know whether to expand or sit still. I sat still which was probably not the right decision – That was my only regret and was a hard lesson to learn but consequently pushed me to start a growth structure for the future.
Who has inspired your over your journey with D R Newitt
My Husband. Definitely. He was the one who pushed me and gave me the confidence to set up this company. I worked for another company at the time and remember coming home one night and he said you should do it on your own. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. Over the first seven years, he was the total driving force behind me, guiding me how to run a business. He’s been a total inspiration to me during the process and supported me financially, giving me the loan and support I needed to start D R Newitt.
Who would you most like to have dinner with?
I think it would have to be Chris Martin from Coldplay. He’s the most amazing musician, who does a lot for the world. I’ve seen him live twice and it was amazing. He’s got ethics. My cousin worked in the video production of their last tour and the way he treats his crew [which is easily over hundred] is incredible. They all respected him and wanted to work for him which I find an inspiration.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
The next five years is important for D R Newitt as our current expansion will continue. With the support of my team, who are continually driving the business forward, the future is very prosperous for D R Newitt. Our successful interim division is expanding on a daily basis and with the possibility of opening an office in the south of England, DR Newitt continues to strive to offer the best service in our marketplace. Our goal for the next 5 years – would be further our presence across the UK – With offices currently in Edinburgh and Manchester opening in the South of England would be a natural expansion. One day, everybody in the UK will think D R Newitt when they think of Food & FMCG Recruitment.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Speaking with Steph it is clear that she has a unique leadership ability which in turn has created an environment of high morale, good employee retention and sustainable long-term success. This, combined with an abundance of experience in recruitment and the food industry, produces one seriously influential boss. Staff at D R Newitt are fully committed to go above and beyond their job role in order to guarantee the company’s success.
With her success as an entrepreneur, rising through the ranks from a Trainee to Managing Director, Steph encourages her employees to learn and grow as individuals. Consequently, Steph has managed to nurture an incredibly loyal team.
Looking towards the future, it looks as though D R Newitt has a lot more to offer over the next five years. The recruitment and food industry will of course evolve and by continuing to invest in research, innovation, technology and people, there will be more success to follow.