Barking oil supplier cleans up at business awards
- Credit: Ken Mears
An oil supplier has won the top prize at this year’s Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards after doubling the size of the enterprise in just five years.
Online Lubricants has seen 20per cent growth annually, according to its managing director John Collings.
It also won the award for innovation and use of digital media, and the award for growth.
Mr Collings set up the business in 1994, selling oil out of a van. He now employs 48 people out of Online Lubricants' office in Creekmouth, Barking.
Managing to compete against the giants in the auto industry is all down to customer service, he said.
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On winning the award, he said: "It's fantastic. It's our 25th year. We have never won any awards before. This is the first time we have been here. To win three is gobsmacking. It's all down to the team."
He also put a lot of the success down to the business's training of its staff, an award it was also up for, but didn't manage to win.
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"It's about a commitment to training. I'm pleased we didn't win the training award because it means people are doing better than us."
The winner of that category was high-tech Dagenham company Sensor Coating Systems.
Its managing director Dr Jörg Feist also won business person of the year.
SCS makes technology that helps measure the temperature of engines, allowing engineers to make them more efficient and protect them from damage. Earlier on the day of the awards, Dr Feist was in talks with Nasa.
"Winning business person of the year is absolutely great, but you can't do that on your own," he said. "[You] have to do it with colleagues and investors."
The company has programmes ranging from helping students get apprenticeships from local colleges to helping people earn their PhDs from international universities.
"We are looking at this as a personal achievement, but we have so many people supporting left and right that it's a reflection of the business, rather than just one man.
"I think we should recognise that we can't do things alone in life. We need to collaborate with people.
"It's the team work. We choose the right people."
The winners in full:
The Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2019
Business of the Year - Online Lubricants
Judges' Award for One to Watch - SL Motorcycle Training
Judges' Award for a Highly Commended Nominee - Shearforce Security
Business Person of the Year - Dr Jörg Feist, Sensor Coating Systems
Best Business Outside Barking and Dagenham Trading in the Borough - Uniform 7
Employer of the Year - Fix Auto Dagenham
Home Grown Talent - London School of Management Education
Employee of the Year - Chris Pollard, Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club
Innovation and Use of Digital Media - Online Lubricants
Customer Service - Floglass Windscreens
Training, Development and Supporting Education - Sensor Coating Systems
Business Growth - Online Lubricants
Best New Business - Borthwick Casting
Sole Trader/Micro Business - Floglass Windscreens