Rising Star interview with Neil Newbery – Operations Manager ICAB PODS
19th October 2021Tweet
- Tell us about your role. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?
My role is ICAB POD Operations Manager. I oversee the operational warehouse and delivery side of our business. I’m based at our warehouse in Milton Keynes which is perfectly situated for access to major routes to enable us to deliver nationwide. We deliver and install internal and external Bathroom and Kitchen PODs to insurance claims policyholders when their own rooms are out of action, being repaired and refitted.
We have an amazing team of drivers/installers and an office team who can pretty much tackle anything that confronts them. They support each other and our customers with commitment, flexibility, knowledge, jokes and a smile which makes working here and being part of this a lot of fun.
I know that the title of this interview is Rising Star and I’m grateful to have been nominated by our Directors but it really is down to this great team that I work with that we are where we are today.
- What made you want to work in this industry?
Like many of us I somewhat stumbled into this industry. I’d previously worked for around 20 years in the corporate live events industry for one of London’s leading audio-visual and staging suppliers supporting events around the globe, taking emergency calls all through the night. After a while I’d reached as far as I could with my role and wanted a new experience and I really wanted to apply transferable skills and experience to another industry but I didn’t really know where.
Providing temporary accommodation to insurance policy holders wasn’t a job I’d ever have thought of and I’d never even heard of these great white boxes on wheels that we call PODS. Now, having spent nearly 3 years at ICAB POD’s myself and my team have that same satisfaction that I had way back when I’d get those calls in the night. A policyholder needing a POD is usually very much in a desperate situation after a disaster in the home. Many a time we arrive onsite to find a stressed policyholder who unfortunately has had this type of home disaster on top of life’s other problems. When they see the POD and the team talk them through it, we find that being able to stay at home and not have to move out whilst building works take place really goes a long way to easing the stressful situation they’re in. So, whilst I stumbled into this industry it’s the help that we can provide people that keeps me engaged and wanting to work in this industry. It’s also a unique company to be part of.
- What do you see as the biggest challenge to your industry in the next year?
Most businesses will see trends in their workload and financials. It could be that there are known quieter or busier times within each year. Or maybe that they have key clients that are known to spend a certain amount with them each year so to most extent they can forecast how the business will grow….or not! In our industry and especially in my area of PODS we’ve seen a huge increase in demand. The challenge is knowing how much to increase our stock of PODS with a demand that could change in either direction quite quickly. We never know what demand is going to be so it’s a fine line to work around.
- How would you like to see the industry improved next year / 5 years / by the time you retire?
I can only really answer this in terms of PODS which is just one area of the temporary accommodation industry.
So next year I’d like to see that the need for PODS is still rapidly increasing. This doesn’t mean that I hope people have disasters in their home but if they do I hope word is out there that people know about this fantastic option. So many people I talk to have never heard of kitchen and bathroom PODs that can be placed on the driveway and in other rooms of the home so I hope that knowledge of them spreads through the insurance claims industry so that more and more people can benefit from them.
In 5 years, I’d like to see that the benefits of PODS are an instant “go to thought” in all insurer’s minds across the country when they’re dealing with claims that could utilise a POD. To know that we can help them keep their costs down as well as helping to keep their policyholder at home rather than moving out whilst work is going on is good for everyone.
By the time I retire??? Well, that seems too far off to think about although I’m sure I’ll be there before I know it. The world is changing so fast so who knows what we’ll see. Maybe we’ll be delivering Galactic PODS to Mars where the claims are down to red dust flooding’s!!! Our Managing Directors, Tim and Joel Goodman can have the first free seat onboard but I’ll have to charge others to help pay for my retirement!
- If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Work harder at school and college and then maybe one day you can pilot that first Galactic POD to Mars.Tweet