In July 2017, Matthew Williams joined Thames Card Technology as CEO. In this interview, Matthew gives us an insight into what attracted him to the company, his immediate priorities and his vision for 2018 and beyond.
Q: What was it about Thames that appealed to you?
Matthew: A whole range of things attracted me to Thames. First up, the company’s expertise across financial and non-financial cards, along with a wide range of added value services, sets it apart from its UK-based competition. This means that Thames is poised for growth. We’re delivering exceptional work in the retail sector and the gift and loyalty markets are continuing to grow, demanding innovative products and the highest levels of service. Thames is also a leading supplier to issuers of prepaid cards and this exciting sector offers a huge opportunity to suppliers who can provide a comprehensive service to both existing programme managers as well as new entrants into the market.
Having managed leading manufacturing businesses in other sectors, the experience and commitment across all levels of the company was immediately clear. Thames has a strong history and much of that is down to its people, particularly the manufacturing teams whose expertise and commitment are fundamental to the future success of the business.
Just as important is the commitment of our board and shareholders who have continually invested in new state-of-the-art equipment over the last few years, as well as in new people, and we plan to continue to lead the market with new technologies and services innovations.
All of this and more made the decision easy.
MD Paul Underwood (left) & CEO Matthew Williams (right)
Q: What expertise do you bring to the company to support this growth?
Matthew: My expertise lies in growing and transforming midsized manufacturing and plastics businesses, to provide world-class levels of customer service to B2B customers.
I firmly believe that you can only grow a business long-term when customers’ expectations are exceeded. To achieve this, we must be better than our competition and have something different to offer our customers.
I don’t say this lightly either. We as a company are committed to delivering on our promises, and we will be seen as the leading supplier in our sector.
Q: What are your immediate priorities?
Matthew: As I mentioned earlier, I am working hard to ensure our longstanding and loyal employees are supported and engaged, as collaboration across the business will allow us to deliver added value to our customers.
Additionally, we are proactively identifying areas of the business that require more resources. For example, we are expanding our customer facing teams to ensure we can be reactive and responsive to the increasing demand for our services. Additionally, we are reorganising our payment card division to maximise the quality and efficiency of our project delivery.
All of this is being done in close consultation with the wider team to ensure we successfully lead the company into the next phase of its evolution.
Q: And how have the first few months gone?
Matthew: First and foremost, I have been working closely with our employees to fully understand how the business operates – to support the development of a detailed and ambitious strategy for each of our key business sectors and geographies.
I have been tremendously encouraged by the energy and dedication of my new colleagues and, to support them, we will invest in training, development and new people to maximise job satisfaction and help the company to achieve its goals.
I have also prioritised meeting customers to share our vision and to seek their views of where we can improve and the areas where we can add value.
Q: Finally, what is your vision for 2018 and beyond?
Matthew: Our goal is to be world class. To achieve this, we must keep our word, be honest, respond quickly and support each other in delivering exceptional customer service. As we thrive financially, we can offer better rewards for our people and even more investment in our business to support our customers.
Thames has grown far beyond its reputation as a card manufacturer. It is important that we maximise the manufacturing capabilities that sit at the heart of our company, but we also need to develop our added value services including data management, personalisation and fulfilment of card contracts, and the provision of expert consultancy to our customers with new and existing transaction products.
To recognise and support our goals, we need a new identity and a stronger brand. So, keep an eye on our website in January for updates on what we are doing to improve our customer experience and the future for our employees.
As an end-to-end partner, Thames Technology is proven at both launching a wide range of cards and managing existing programmes. Contact us to find out how.