Finance Awards 2019

4 | SME NEWS - Finance Awards 2019 The field of forensic engineering covers all manner of areas. From engineering incidents like pipework or joint failure to personal injuries involving stepladders or automatic doors, the range of areas covered is incredible. Offering themselves as expert witnesses, Engineering Forensics is one of the newest companies in the industry and is already making a name for itself. We caught up with Founder, Alexander Wildish to find out more. Having spent five years as a Detec- tive Constable, then working as a forensic investigator for Burgoynes, Alexander Wildish decided to go solo in 2015. Since then, Engineering Forensics has gone from strength to strength, building up a quality team of investigators focused in areas ranging from plumbing incidents to car crash investigation. ‘Engineering Forensics provides expert advice with respect to escapes of water and oil, me- chanical failures and fires,’ explains Alexander. ‘Our work typically involves attending scenes, retrieving evidence for examination, interviewing witnesses and compiling expert reports, which may be tendered as evidence at trial (criminal and/or civil).’ Engagement across the arena of litigation means that Engineering Forensics often work with insurance companies, loss adjust- ers and solicitors who might be claimants or defendants. ‘Our mission is to deliver effective expert advice,’ Alexander tells us. ‘Litigation along with forensic investigations can be costly. It is therefore imperative that our clients receive the correct advice as soon as practically possible so that they can make informed decisions through the litigation process.’ The emphasis on quick and accurate information is what really distin- guishes Engineering Forensics from any potential competitors, now or in the future All of the team’s work is handled in-house, with investigation by several experts across the country and laboratory investigations handled in Solihull. This allows the team at Engineering Forensics to go where the work is, no matter where it is in the country. When it comes to working with clients, Engi- neering Forensics returns to the keystone to provide excellent advice. There is no agenda to what they do, they simply do their best to allow informed decisions to be made. ‘We achieve this by sharing our forensic insights with our clients. Our experts are heavily engaged with industry and so up-to-date with the latest regulations, Standards and forensic practices, enabling us to stream-line the investigation and expert advice process.’ This engagement with the industries they investigate means that the experts are able to understand the decision making process . As an example, Alexander has noticed that the stringent regulations and training that gas fitters have to go through means that there is a lower chance of installation failure within that group compared to others. Of course, ensuring that clients are thoroughly informed does not necessarily mean that they are happy clients. We asked Alexander how he ensures his clients are satisfied with his compa- ny’s services. ‘We engage with our clients on a one-to-one basis, developing relationships and fostering trust, but also encourage face-to-face meetings and reinforcing relationships. Because of this, our clients feel that they can pick up the phone anytime, day or night, and we will be there. This personal service gives the confidence and the support they need when making critical decisions.’ By making sure that relationships are established , Alexander is also able to build up a solid set of referees who can recommend him for future projects. This is key as a growing company in an uncompetitive industry. ‘There is a distinct lack of competition within the sector,’ admits Alexander. ‘As such, there has been an overreli- ance on the two main service providers. This has led to dissatisfaction and mistrust. This being said, there is a reluctance to “step-out- side” from the two main service providers.’ This might seem a problem for Engineering Forensics, but a study of the industry and economy suggest that this could be a changing factor. ‘As insur- ers look to streamline the claims and recovery process, cost will be the biggest influence. The major challenge is to not only offer a more cost-effective alternative, but a reputable and consistent brand.’ Thanks to his work building up relationships with clients and a responsible team that operate and specialise over a broad area, it seems like Alexander and Engineering Forensics are in a good place moving forward. Best Mechanical Accident Forensic Advisors 2019 The internal culture of a firm like Engineering Forensics is critical. Operating in small teams across the country, every employee acts as a brand ambassador, defining the larger identity of the brand. ‘Professionalism, integrity, honesty and consist- ency is our culture,’ says Alexander. ‘Continuous Professional Development (‘CPD’) and Peer-to- Peer support is key to developing and maintain- ing this. Staff are free to select and undertake whatever courses they feel necessary to further their expertise.’ This dedication to constant improvement is essential, not just as a team of scientific experts, but also to their roles as investigators. In fact, this dedication has taken them to the point of taking leading roles within the industry. ‘Our experts are heavily engaged with industry, drafting new regulations and investigator exams. As such, our experts are up-to-date with the latest regulations, standards and forensic practices.’ They’re pioneers in other respects too, providing their staff with safeguarding training, which supports the FCA’s commitment to safe- guarding vulnerable consumers. Moving forward, Engineering Forensics has invested in state-of-the-art technology, giving them a competitive edge over other companies. With staff spread across the UK, Engineering Forensics have had to look to new solutions. ‘Our IT systems are cloud based, we are paperless, our staff are spread throughout the UK and our office footprint is minimal,’ explains Alexander. ‘This has led to a robust, agile and streamlined business model enabling us to beat our compet- itors on price without compromising on profitabil- ity. As such, our financial performance has been strong, with year-on-year growth.’ This has set them up for expansion in the form of recruitment and taking on overseas projects. ‘Over the next year, we plan to recruit another engineer and expand our laboratory facilities,’ Alexander tells us. ‘With the recent success of a number of cases, we have been enabled to expand and market our client base.’ Recruitment is typically