We talked to Jes Rutter of JRP Solutions about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jes Rutter: I consider myself to be very lucky. My wife and I, our immediate families, and our employees have not suffered any serious impact on our health or circumstances as a result of the pandemic. Although we have all had to make sacrifices and have had inconveniences, they are nothing compared to what many people have suffered.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded JRP Solutions.
Jes Rutter: You can find a potted history of JRP Solutions and me here – written on the occasion of the Company’s 21st birthday.
How does JRP Solutions innovate?
Jes Rutter: We are constantly asking ourselves what more we can be doing to support our clients. We try to anticipate their needs and innovate to show them how they can do better. When we see an opportunity, we prepare a business case, and we are always prepared to invest in initiatives where we can use our expertise in energy, sustainability, and facilities optimization to make a real contribution to our clients’ organizational objectives and to also reduce the impact we all have on the world around us. We have numerous examples where we have done this.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Jes Rutter: Like most other organizations, our income has suffered, and we have had to spend much more time than usual ensuring that the numbers add up. The first lockdown hit hard, and sales dropped dramatically but picked up again relatively quickly, and the subsequent lockdowns have not had the same impact. Although sales have been slower coming forward, our pipeline is stronger than ever, and we feel very confident about the future.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Jes Rutter: Yes. One of the most challenging things for me has been to constantly balance the needs of the business and the needs of our employees with the support that the Government has provided. We may not be out of the woods yet, but we have managed to retain all staff so far, and I am hopeful that they will be all still with us when the pandemic retreats.
I believe we were in a much stronger position than most at the beginning of the pandemic because although JRP Solutions is a national organization, we have always worked through a network of virtual offices, with most employees working remotely from home. Our HQ is my home. The majority of communications has always been via teleconferencing/email etc., rather than face-to-face meetings. Our commitment to being an environmentally sustainable business has meant that we were able to adapt to new working practices far more readily than some and that our employees have been able to keep out of harm’s way. The more organizations focus on their environmental sustainability, including supply chain mapping, the more they will be able to identify and mitigate against future risks posed by national and global challenges.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Jes Rutter: The biggest change has been from in-person meetings to on-screen meetings, for which Zoom and Teams obviously have been extremely helpful. Other than that, we have continued to use our CRM system to keep in touch with our contacts on a regular basis, very much as usual.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Jes Rutter: Other than the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), no grants or other support have been available to JRP, or if they have, they have not been suitable/appropriate. CJRS has done exactly what it said on the tin and has protected the Company from what otherwise would have been a very difficult position.
Your final thoughts?
Jes Rutter: I would add to my previous comment that CRJS has enabled JRP to retain its excellent skills, and whilst there are still financial challenges, we will be in a strong position to move forward in 2021/22. Our goal now is to help organizations with a potentially much greater crisis than Covid, namely rapidly moving on the path towards Net Zero, which will ultimately lead to clean air/land/water and the protection of resources for our future generations.
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