In the Frame: Martin Ackroyd of Accu

At New Dawn Resources we pride ourselves on being the ‘People’ people. As a specialist outsourcing HR business we’re delighted to assist companies from across the UK who work in multiple sectors. 

To highlight the diversity of our clients and to shed light on their work, we’re inviting them to collaborate on a series of ‘In The Frame’ features. These insights will showcase the services that each delivers, while sharing the evolution of their business and their working relationship with New Dawn.

First up is the MD of Accu, Martin Ackroyd. As Co-Founder of the business Martin and his 100 strong team supplies a wide range of precision engineering components to over 50% of the world’s top 100 manufacturers. From tiny screws in children’s prosthetic limbs, to precision bolts within fusion reactors that promise unlimited clean energy; their components are delivered across the world to help build a better tomorrow. 

We even get a little peek into what makes them tick as business leaders, their inspirations and what the future holds.

Please could you elaborate on the services and products that Accu provides.

Our product range is very diverse, with over 500,000 standard engineering components. However, our bread and butter is offering high quality stainless steel fasteners such as Cap Head Screws, Nuts, Bolts and Washers.

This is supported by our industry leading delivery service – AccuPro – enabling our customers to pay a one off fee for 12 months of unlimited express delivery, allowing engineers to start building and refining their ideas as soon as possible.

When did you establish Accu and what led you to building the business?

Accu’s story began in 2011 when the company founders, who worked for an engineering firm at the time, saw an opportunity to streamline the supply chain of the engineering industry by building a world class ecommerce platform.

Inspired by the growth of Amazon and other leading ecommerce websites at the time they had a dream to be the ‘Amazon for Engineers’.

Accu quickly established itself as one of the leading UK websites for engineering components and by listening & acting on the feedback from the engineering community, has continued to evolve to this day.

What would you consider to be your greatest business achievement(s)?

So far, our greatest achievement has been the rapid growth of the business that, within 10 years of operation and without external funding, can proudly count over 50% of the world’s top 100 manufacturers as their customers.

If you were to highlight one aspect of Accu Limited as ‘Award Winning’ what would it be?

We’re proud to say we are rated Excellent on Trustpilot (4.9/5, 800+ reviews), Google (4.9/5, 1000+ reviews) and have a Net Promoter Score* average of 77 over the past 3 years.

*NPS is an industry benchmark for customer service.

We believe our service is world class and our website offers the best shopping experience for engineers and innovators.

What is your role within the company and what does this entail?

I’m the CEO and Co-Founder, meaning I work across a broad range of departments including Service, Sales, Marketing, Information Technology and Merchandising.

I work closely with department heads to ensure each team is guided by our company vision of ‘Building Tomorrow’. It’s about celebrating the life changing breakthroughs our customers are able to make using the precision components we sell.

Each department has a part to play in supporting innovation, minimising waste and making engineering fast and accessible for the customers we serve.

Please give us a brief description of your average day at work.

No two days are the same at Accu. We’re always looking for the next opportunity and with that comes a lot of variety in our projects. As CEO, my role is to make sure we’re providing the very best environment for our staff to succeed and collaborate. If we get that right, everything else falls into place.

What challenges does your work pose?

As one of the fastest growing companies in Yorkshire, retaining and hiring the industry’s most talented people into our rapidly growing team has always been one of our biggest challenges. Finding not only the right skills but the right personalities often takes time. But, we know that it’s our people who are at the core of our success, so it’s time well spent.

What lies ahead for Accu?

Our global expansion begins next year. This will lead to Accu getting closer to our customers around the world, offering next day delivery of components to even more innovators and engineers so they can start building tomorrow.

What challenges have you faced in attracting specialist engineering talent in the post pandemic market?

We’ve experienced recruiting challenges for roles across departments, particularly in IT. Post pandemic our switch to a 4 day work week has helped address this. To illustrate the impact we advertised a marketing role before the change and had 30 applicants, after we rolled out the 4 day week the same role had over 200 applicants!

What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your specialist field?

“Don’t be afraid to be a disruptor”.

What attracted Accu to engaging the services of New Dawn?

From the moment we sat down with New Dawn, it was clear they are experts in their field. During our first meeting we openly discussed some of our ongoing HR challenges and we walked away with a clear plan on how to address them.

Since then, New Dawn has continued to provide quick and detailed support whenever we need it, along with collaborating on a number of very large policy changes, including the roll out of a 4 day work week.

How have their services made a difference to your business?

Without a doubt New Dawn has transformed our business. We’ve grown from a home office to over 100 staff in a very short space of time, with New Dawn playing a pivotal role in helping Accu to successfully navigate the ever changing landscape of HR and employment law. From the first version of our employee handbook and contracts to ongoing support for both Accu and our staff; we wouldn’t be the business we are today without their support.

Having such a busy work life must be both rewarding and challenging. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

My life outside of work quite often revolves around great food – both cooking and eating – I love experimenting with new flavours and cuisines. Living in Yorkshire, I should probably mention the great outdoors. We’re so lucky to have stunning scenic views in every direction and I often spend my down time on long dog walks.