John Stewart joins QRIS team

Last Friday (7th May 2021) I caught up with our very own John Stewart, who has recently made the exciting decision to join Quick Reach Industrial Services.  Quick Reach Industrial Services is our division dedicated to providing access and material handling solutions to the industrial sector.


After a busy first week, travelling the length of the country meeting customers, John’s infectious enthusiasm about his new role as Business Development Manager (North) for QRIS radiated through our entire chat.



So, John, tell me a little bit about your new role.


I will be doing a similar role to both Simon and Tom, supporting and consulting with our QRIS customers. I have an operational background so I know I can fill that missing 2% to make our team 100% perfect, and that feels great.



With Tom’s sales background, Simon’s wealth of experience in Health and Safety and your operational background you guys are going to become the dream team. That’s why my Dad [David Barton] and Uncle John [John Barton] worked so well, Dad [DB] focused on the sales side and Uncle John [JB] was Operations.


Absolutely! Tom’s sales experience is just unbelievable and Simon’s positivity, leadership, and as you said, his experience with the health and safety side – he really knows his stuff. He knows exactly how to effectively build a relationship with our customers.



How long have you worked at Quick Reach?


Believe it or not, to almost the day, the transfer across to QRIS was on my third anniversary. I started on the bank holiday Monday, three years ago.



I know you’ve worked in this industry for quite a while, just how long has it been?


It’s quite scary, it’s been 34 years!  Not just in the construction industry but in the hire industry supplying; stihl saws, drills, compressors, generators, tower lights, dumpers. Which brings us onto QRIS and QRIS’s future, we will delve into dumpers, excavators and I’ve got all that background, so it feels like I’m that missing jigsaw piece, it really does.



I know we’ve already invested in Industrial lighting and the big rotos, they’re epic!


Aww they’re amazing! Even the word ‘roto’ throws everyone, they ask ‘why is it called a roto?’ Well, it rotates the full 360 degrees, whereas all the others do 180 degrees.  There is so much potential and as I said I’ve worked with this kind of equipment for years, so I can bring that experience to the team as well.



It sounds like you have an exciting journey ahead! Being in the industry for 34 years it must feel so great to make a refreshing change.


Absolutely, I’m buzzing. I’m really buzzing. I’m enjoying my work; I feel like I’m 18-19 again ready to hit the road.



What makes QRIS different from other companies?


Companies I have worked for have been saying the same thing for 30 years plus ‘we care, we care, we care.’ I do genuinely care for all my customers but when it comes to breaking it right down, Simon truly cares with QRIS. That’s real caring for customers, he spends so much time catering for their needs. He asks the customer what they really want and is able to come up with a solution by taking the time to work directly with them. What will save them money, what will save them staff-wise, what can we do to cut their costs whilst also making sure we can make money on our expensive machines.  It may come down to spec, it may come down to (as one of our customers said the other day) reliability. 


I think what separates us from our competitors is our team genuinely does care, we care what you want, what your feelings are, we care about your priorities.  The proof is in the incredible business relationships we have built over this past year.


I was absolutely buzzing sitting with Simon and his customer this week.  The way Simon talks to his customer and the way his customer was talking to him, it was all slowed down, and it was all planning. There’s no… how do I explain? In the construction industry I can be on site the same day a customer calls requesting a site survey and I’m there for 10 minutes to find the right machine, give our prices and then head back to the office – we have to be fast.


We were with Simon’s customer for hours and we discussed everything, and nothing was missed – absolutely nothing was missed. Our phones were left in the car, all that mattered right then was what was happening with our customer in that meeting, nothing else mattered, we knew we had plenty of time to catch up with everything else once we had finished.


We also have quality kit, we top-spec all our kit. Our big competitors have a lot of new machines arriving in their fleet, but they are all bought with basic spec. It’s like Ford Fiesta turning up whilst we have Jaguars and Range Rovers. That’s just my comparison.



Investing real time and care into our customers sounds like the major difference, as well as having reliable kit of course!


As you know I am a bit of an eco-warrior and our ‘reaching for greener’ ethos is an integral part of Quick Reach’s vision. Do you think hybrid and electric machines are the future of our industry?


Of course, they are. The whole nation is gearing towards hybrid to start with, and I’m sure electric will quickly follow over the next 30 years. The construction and industrial industries have to follow suit.  I think it should be a goal for everyone to go eco. We need to save the planet for you youngsters.



Whilst you were Area manager you did an amazing job rallying your team, and it showed in the wonderful testimonials we receive from our customers. What do think are the key traits of being an effective leader?


Communication, communication and more communication.



That’s exactly what my Dad [David Barton] says!


I like breaking things down, see if you don’t have communication in all forms of life how do know we are doing a good job? How do we know we’re doing the right job, with no communication? If we don’t effectively communicate with our customer, really sit and listen to him communicating with us what he wants, how can we provide what he needs?



Exactly, and that will work perfectly in this role too.


Finally, a silly question to finish, if you were a machine in our fleet which machine would you be and why?


Seriously?! Okay if I had to be one of our machines, I’d be one of the HRs [Height Riders]. I’d either be a HR12 or a HR17. They’re quite nifty! That’s who make them! Hybrid and of course they’re articulated. The number of jobs I go to and it’s a tight workshop or a tight warehouse, or machine will have to go through an awkward doorway. An articulated machine like a HR12 can get into the nooks and crannies where other machines can’t and when it comes to sales that’s what it’s all about, I can get into places where other people can’t. I’ll leave it there otherwise I’ll start sounding like I’m on one of those blind date shows!



Any final thoughts about the big move before we finish?


I’m very happy with the move, not only can I see so much potential in Quick Reach Industrial Services, I can see a new potential in myself as well. With Simon and Tom as teammates the future is limitless, we’re going to make this big.



I believe the future is bright for Quick Reach Industrial Services, as its team continues to grow and strengthen. Good luck, John, in your new role, I know you are going to smash it!


– Heather Barton –