- Service is at the heart of 20 years’ success
- From two to twenty-four: OSV now has a fleet of staff to work with its fleet of vehicles, bringing jobs to the local community
- The commercial vehicle market beckons as OSV moves into its 21st year
1997 was a big year. Tony Blair’s ‘New Labour’ came to power, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published, and Britain relinquished its claim on Hong Kong. Amidst all of these local-global events, in West Success Andrew and Debbie Kirkley were preparing for their own big occasion: the launch of their business, OSV. 20 years on, OSV’s format has changed a little, but the business is more successful than ever before.
When Andrew and Debbie renounced their respective careers, as Fleet Manager for Dagenham Motors and PA to a Technical Director at Barratt Homes, their aim was independence. Working within the popular ‘pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap’ model, the OSV of 1997 was a business created merely to make a living. The OSV of 2017 is a family, with an emphasis on service and long-term customer relationships.
It was during the course of the 2007 recession that OSV changed its path. Moving away from quantity sales, and instead focusing on quality vehicle rentals, sales and service, the company was able to weather the financial storm which howled across the country. In building customer loyalty through the delivery of exceptional service, OSV was able to firmly establish itself as one of the leading independent vehicle specialists in the UK, using its reputation to expand the business, acquire new premises and take on additional staff. Having begun the business with just Debbie and Andrew covering all bases, OSV now employs 24 members of staff in-house, across sales, marketing, finance, admin and tech roles, while outsourcing additional work on a regular basis. But OSV’s growth and achievements do not end there.
‘Our vision has always been to be the most highly recommended independent supplier of vehicles,’ explains Andrew. ‘We’re currently well on track for that, but there is always more that we can do. As part of that we are well on the way to establishing a consumer website to answer questions about our industry, we would like to become recognised and trusted as a source of informed and accurate impartial advice.
‘As for driving the existing business forward, as well as expanding the car leasing and sales core of OSV, in 2018 we also plan to enter into the Commercial Vehicle market. The opportunities this presents could be very exciting.’
In addition to investing in technology to further the company, a key focus of OSV has been investment in its people. ‘The last 20 years have been amazing,’ says Debbie. ‘We feel so privileged to have been able to work with such an incredible team. Watching each one of them develop into better people, leaders and managers has led to our own constant self-improvement, which creates an extraordinary dynamic within the company – our staff turnover is very low and the work ethic extremely high. This has helped us to provide the best service to our customers, to build relationships, and to keep our integrity in a cut-throat industry.’
The way the vehicle leasing business works hasn’t really changed much in the last 20 years, but what has changed is the public’s acceptance of the fact that if you want to continually drive the best new vehicles without exorbitant costs, leasing is the best way, whether you’re an individual looking for your own needs, or a corporation catering for dozens or hundreds of staff. This sea change in attitude has helped make OSV the success that it is today, but without the hard work, dedication and determination of Debbie, Andrew and their team, OSV might have had a very different story to tell.
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