AMG is under new management with a grand plan for the future. So what do the staff think of the changes?

A desire to deliver

AMG is under new management with a grand plan for the future. So what do the staff think of the changes?

Chris Cowley - regional office manager
Chris Cowley joined AMG in June 2003 from Capita after it acquired McLarens Toplis, and has never looked back.

"This is such an open environment compared to anywhere I have worked before," he says.

"All the regional managers attend regular meetings at head office to discuss all issues. It allows everyone a chance to really understand the business and know what is going on."

He praises managing director Kevin Wood and his team for being "prepared and actually encouraging constructive criticism" from all parts of the business.

Does he think the old Ashworth Mairs was slightly opaque?

"I don't entirely agree with the perception that we are a mystery.

"Before I joined, I knew what the company did and what it specialised in.

"Our competitors may not know what we did, and we may even remain a mystery to them, but that's not a bad thing."

He says the integration of Sigma Claims Solutions, which was acquired in May this year, has allowed cross-fertilisation of skills and ideas.

"We meet the top managers at Sigma and we are learning a great deal from their experience," he adds.

So what does a new recruit need at AMG?

"Dedication and a real desire to deliver. My job is make sure that if a report needs to be filed in two days, then it is filed in two days. You must take pride in servicing your clients."

Val Barlow
Employee development manager

"Of the regional managers we have in the company, six of the nine have been developed in-house."

Val Barlow believes the engagement of staff and commitment of the senior managers to promote within makes AMG different from most service providers.

"AMG's results speak for themselves. We have excellent technicians and the service we provide is what clients want.

"I think the growth will mean that additional resources will be needed and our training programme should help alleviate the problems surrounding the talent in the industry."

Natalie Goodheart
Credit control manager

One year on, Natalie Goodheart is still excited. "I'm happy with this new, flat structure. The consistency has helped people really develop and feel comfortable in their role."

She will have been with AMG three years in January 2007, and oversees two full-time credit controllers and a junior controller.

She believes the internal magazine Insight has worked well in bringing together

"various parts of the organisation many of us would not know about".

"It is a vehicle for ideas," she adds.

Goodheart lives up to her name, as she organises the office Children In Need events. She says it has helped bond the team.

Mike Bond - head of specialist adjusting unit
Mike Bond heard about the management buy-out in March 2006. "My initial thought was that this a great opportunity to take us forward, particularly when a venture capitalist like Hermes was behind the deal."

Bond has been with the company for four years and has ambitious plans to reach board level at some stage. "What the MBO has achieved is to bring good managers, such as managing director Kevin Wood, to the fore. It is now a pluralistic management structure.

"One person used to make decisions. Now there are more people involved with a freedom of ideas and the bureaucracy is gone."

Next year, he begins studying a degree with the company's backing and hopes in a few years, to be "considered a good candidate for a senior management position".

"The ethos here is great. Many of our competitors have tried to cut in on our clients by claiming the MBO would lead to service deterioration. Some clients were also worried, but have been pleasantly surprised that service levels have stayed the same and are improving rapidly."

AMG has "morphed" into an entity that can really "attack the competition", he says, and all the staff have high aspirations to better themselves.

He suggests that anyone who wants to apply to AMG should be a "committed team player and be passionate on delivery of service".

So what makes him get up every Monday morning and drag himself to work?

"A mixture of insanity and insomnia. I have never worked in such an amazingly vibrant place where your voice is heard."

He sees AMG employing around 25-30 specialist adjusters in the next three to four years, with some homegrown while others joining the team.

"With the CII accreditation to our training scheme I think we can attract real talent," he says.