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‘Day in the Life’ of Reid’s Managing Director – Rob Akam

Hot Read Hot read Sep 26

 

 

 

This interview with Rob Akam, Managing Director at Reid Bikes, jump starts our new ‘Day in the Life’ series. Each month we will delve into the role of a different member of the Reid team to showcase what they get up to and how they support the success of the company on a daily basis. Below is a photo of Rob on a recent visit to Australia with Reid’s founder, James Reid.

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We hear you’ve recently been to paradise, what was the purpose of your recent trip to Hamilton island?

Each year, one of our larger ‘supply contracts’, Anaconda, hold an annual conference and awards event. They are a major outdoor sports and adventure retailer in Australia with over 70 stores. We design and manufacture their whole Fluid range of bikes. We were there to present the all new 2023 range to the retail managers and support office staff that all attend the event. We were also up for a very prestigious award; ‘Land Trade Partner of the Year’.

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What was your biggest learning from your recent trip and how will you use it?

That you must always listen to what your partners want, and getting front line feedback will ensure you make the best product for the partner, as they know their customers better than we do. We will ensure that we continue to listen to all of our partners and distributors around the world, and also give more opportunities to give feedback to help us shape our range moving forward.

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Tell us a bit about the award you recently received for Reid and what it means to you?

I was very proud to accept the award of ‘Land Trade Partner of the Year’ on behalf of the Reid team. With up to 100 vendors selling products in Anaconda under their ‘Land Department’, to be recognised as the top one through great service and products really shows us we are doing things right, and following the three pillars we built our business on; Service, Quality and Value. Without the right mix of all three, we would not have won that award.

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Could you sum up your role at Reid in one sentence?

Very hard. My role is to support and help to develop each business department and department Head at Reid to ensure ongoing success, through the development, manufacture, sale and support of exceptional products with our growing network of partners and distributors around the globe. 

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What tasks could you be doing during the day?

So this is what I love about what I do, as it varies so much. It could be anything from evaluating a new product for the range with our Product Manager, to joining a call with one of our team and a distributor anywhere from USA to New Zealand, to working on our global insurance renewal with our broker, to carrying out a one to one with a Department Head, to negotiating a new contract with a key supplier in Asia. No two days are the same.

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What is your favourite part of your job?

Until recently, it was product development. Around one year ago though we hired someone much better than myself at developing amazing, affordable bikes that ride well, and bring enjoyment and serve a purpose. Now I still really enjoy looking at non-core line products, such as eScooters as I am a huge believer in eMobility and that urban transport will transform beyond recognition over the next 10 years. As well as this, I love looking for growth opportunities for the business, and creating a plan and ensuring we are resourced to carry out the plans. 

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What are the biggest challenges you encounter day to day and how do you overcome them?

Time. I don’t just mean there isn’t enough time to do everything we want to do (there will never be enough for that…), but you can only be in one place at a time, and if I am in the UK, my communication window with our AU team and clients are limited to the first few hours. At the other end of the day, we get our communication time with USA and Canadian distributors, who are a major part of global Reid branded bike sales.

If you could try out another role at Reid for the day, what would it be and why?

I’d love to be our QC leader in China for the day. Pre-Covid I’d be in China three or four times a year to oversee our operations there, and ensure we are making the very best products we can and that each and every one of them is perfect. In reality perfection doesn’t happen, but ensuring we are doing everything possible to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers is something I am passionate about, and this role is at the heart of that.

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What new projects are in the pipeline that you’re most excited about?

I can’t say too much here, as much wont hit the market for 6-12 months, but as a brand we are seeing a huge growth in eBikes and eScooters. We are therefore investing a lot of resources into this segment, with both our eBike and eScooter ranges doubling over the next 6 months. We are also working on a new line of iSUPs with a new major manufacturer in Asia aimed to maintain quality while significantly reducing costs to give our customers a better deal.

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