What are the main responsibilities of your role?
Cranswick: As commercial director, I have responsibility for providing a framework of support upon which our dealerships and divisions rely. This support covers areas including our regulated activities (F&I and data), marketing (online and offline), used car wholesale, customer services and business improvements.
I also lead our group-wide innovation drive, which is a tremendously exciting part of our business approach. In an organisation such as Jardine Motors Group, it is important that we encourage entrepreneurialism while also having a consistent application of core processes to underpin our performance.
What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?
Cranswick: Technology, regulation and changing behaviour (both consumers’ and colleagues’) will all have a dramatic impact on our business. Each area in isolation will experience great change, but, more significantly, when all three areas are optimised together we will see a very powerful shift in our business.
At Jardine, we have been paying considerable attention to these topics, among others, over the past two years. We are now in a strong position to make real progress, as changes such as online vehicle sales, GDPR and mobility as a service (MaaS) gain traction in a world of “bricks and clicks”.
How might these challenges be overcome?
Cranswick: We need to have an open mind, embracing change and collaboration with experts. For example, throughout our business we encourage each other to challenge the status quo and to find better ways of working that give our customers, colleagues and shareholders what they need from us. It is also imperative that businesses start to take inspiration from beyond their own industry or sector and be brave enough to look beyond the comfort zone. There are so many areas you can look and draw understanding, experience and inspiration from – whether that’s technology, business practice or operating guidelines.
What attracted you to this area of expertise?
Cranswick: I have been very fortunate throughout my career to work with some amazing brands and incredible businesses, not always in easy times. Leaving school in 1986 at 16 I joined John Lewis’ junior management training scheme and to this day I still rely on many features of their culture in my career.
Having worked in automotive retail since 1989, I have seen many changes, but what has always been clear is the opportunity to enable good people to achieve their potential. Having worked my way up to managing director of a dealer business, in 2005 I took the opportunity to turn ‘gamekeeper’ from ‘poacher’ to join Volkswagen Group in the UK. Ten years in the business offered a fantastic grounding to learn about driving change, establishing networks and delivering premium service at scale. In 2015, I was invited to join Jardine Motors Group in my current role and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it?
Cranswick: The most important thing I have learned in my career is to take people with you on the journey. With the rates of change that we experience in our business, it is impossible to be the expert in everything. However, it is incumbent on you, at whatever level, to know who the experts are and to make sure that they are working with you. In Jardine, like in other businesses that I have worked in, building a team of dedicated and motivated colleagues has had a significant impact on our achievements.
What drives you?
Knowing that I am making a difference and believing that my contribution is valued.
What’s your favourite app?
How do you relax?
Clay pigeon shooting – the challenge of shooting a four-inch target out of the sky when it’s moving at pace. When you hit it, it’s done. No follow-up, no feedback, just dust. Unlike so much in our busy day-to-day lives.