Q&A Profile: Lorraine McNamara Business Manager, Trident Controls

Guaranteed Irish member Trident Controls are specialists in customised panels for electrical control systems; all of which are manufactured and tested in their workshop in Naas, Co Kildare.

Lorraine McNamara Business Manager at Trident Controls talks supply chains post Brexit, launching an e-commerce site, why they decided to become members of Guaranteed Irish & much more.

  1. Can you give us a brief history of Trident Controls?

Trident Controls Limited was set up in 2017 by our directors Patrick McNamara and Francis Morrison. Both Pat and Fran are highly regarded Electricians in the industry and have vast experience across all industries. The company was set up to meet the growing demands in Ireland for high quality, Irish manufactured electrical control panels. Demand for these types of control panels came from numerous industries from large FMCG manufacturing companies to schools to concrete manufacturers.

We are based in Naas, Co Kildare and currently employ 3 full time employees along with several part time contractors.

  1. What are the challenges that you face in your business and how do you work to overcome them particularly in the current climate?

As with most Irish Companies, COVID presented many challenges for us in Trident Controls. During the lockdown period, our team all moved to working remotely with projects being completed from kitchen tables/garages. This was to ensure that the installation of our completed control panels could commence as soon as the lockdown period ended.

The biggest challenge we have faced however is Brexit and the interruption of our supply chain of component parts for our control panels. We, like most other Irish companies completed an in-depth analysis of our Brexit Readiness and completed our readiness plans prior to “Brexit Day”. We have had to think creatively with our suppliers to ensure a constant stock supply. We have focused on building relationships with our Irish suppliers new and old and ensured open dialogue as to supply chain issues they were having. And indeed, like most Irish companies, we increased our stock levels of component parts to ensure we had the stock we needed on hand for the manufacturing process of our control panels.

  1. What has been your greatest achievement and biggest risk?

As a company in business for less than 5 years, winning and completing large scale projects within a short period of time trading has been our greatest achievement. Our company name is increasingly becoming known in the Irish marketplace as a company which delivers high quality projects for our clients.

From a personal perspective, the biggest risk was for me leaving a permanent job in corporate banking for a large American Bank after 16 years to join a start up company.  Leaving the banking industry which I knew inside out to join an electrical engineering company was a huge risk and a steep learning curve. However, the excellent mentoring and experience I gained working in a large bank has stood to me to help our company navigate through the challenges that both COVID and Brexit has brought.

  1. What drives you as a business?

As a business, being innovative, solving complex problems for our clients drives us. We learn so much from each project which we bring into the next. Our team has over 50 years’ experience in the Electrical Engineering field. Our clients trust our opinions and our solutions to their individual company problems.

Our clients across all industries are increasingly engaging us to help with their environmental, sustainability projects. Our clients come to us with the aim of reducing their overall electricity usage or streamlining their manufacturing process to reduce fossil fuel usage or indeed to recycle waste products. For example, we recently completed a project for Hanlon Concrete in Co Kildare whereby they were looking to create a new product out of a waste product from their existing manufacturing process. This project was a great success for them. A case study on this project can be found on our website www.tridentcontrols.ie

We are always seeking out and evaluating new products in the market, looking at more innovative ways to complete projects and upskilling of our team members.

  1. What made you decide to become a member of Guaranteed Irish?

To us joining Guaranteed Irish was a “no brainer”.  Even as consumers ourselves, the Guaranteed Irish symbol was quite important for us to identify Irish companies and services. With COVID 19 & Brexit, buying Irish is critical for our recovery. For Ireland to get back on its feet, we all need to ensure we are buying from Irish companies, Irish sole traders etc. We need to read packaging to see where the products we are buying are coming from and having the Guaranteed Irish logo on products really helps consumer identify actual Irish products and services.

We joined Guaranteed Irish for three reasons really. Firstly, is that Guaranteed Irish having a network of over 1,600 companies. This gives us an opportunity to showcase our products and services to a large network and will help result in greater sales for Trident Controls.

For us in Trident Controls Limited, it was important for us to showcase our Irishness, so our potential clients (both from Guaranteed Irish members and non-members) knew that everything they bought from us was designed, produced, and commissioned here in Ireland to the highest standards. And thus, by buying from us, they were contributing to the Irish economy.

Secondly, on the flip side of that, the network can help us source raw materials. For example, the member portal is now a well-used database in our office. Our first port of call now when were looking to purchase an item is the Guaranteed Irish Members portal to see whether one of the member companies in Ireland can supply us with the materials we need.

And finally, the support from the team in Guaranteed Irish for their members. There are not many organisations whereby you can drop the CEO an email asking for help, and she has a call set up within a couple of days to help you out. The networking sessions pre covid and the online sessions during covid were invaluable to the members helping companies navigate through this tricky time.

  1. What do you see as the biggest opportunity for Trident Controls over the next five years?

We see our future as bright in Trident Controls Limited. There is opportunity in every situation good or bad. It’s a case of finding that opportunity and being agile enough to take advantage of that opportunity.

In the short term, we are currently working on revamping our website to create an ecommerce site which will go live on 20th September.

We have been working on solving some of our supply chain issues by manufacturing some component parts ourselves. We will be opening an online shop to sell some of these component parts to other companies in Ireland and beyond.

Once we establish our online offering we will look to expand our range and where possible manufacture more component parts in Ireland.

Once COVID has settled somewhat we will be looking to expand our team with experienced Electrical Panel builders and apprentices join our team.

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