Categories: Breaking News, Safety

Wireless technology: changing the fire safety game

Sandy Damm

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Sandy Damm, the newly appointed CEO of Bull Cygnus Group sits down with IFSJ to talk about his plans for the company

Can you tell me about your professional background?

I spent 25 years in international business development, 15 years of that have been in profit centres, improving productivity and sales, developing people, creating value and growing the share price. I’ve carried out a few business turnarounds in that time too.

Most of those years were spent in building automation and building management systems – an industry which has many parallels to the fire safety sector. For the last 10 years, I was more involved with IoT and smart buildings.

What are your main aims as CEO? 

It’s a little early to say. At the moment, I’m focused on understanding the sector, the players and the products, developing existing teams, bringing good people on board and getting the right foundations in place. I have one to ones with every single employee gathering their ideas and getting my head around how everything works. The main priority is the launch of our new Cygnus technology under the SiteNet and SmartNet brands. We must clarify our positioning as a fire safety equipment manufacturer and become more visible to the market: Bull products provides ‘temporary’ solutions (products and services) whilst Cygnus Systems provides ‘permanent’ solutions (products only).

Did you learn a lot during your 1-to-1 conversations with employees?

I always find that this is where the best ideas in a business come from. My task is to take these ideas on board, put them together and build a coherent vision for the next five years. We’re still building this strategy to make sure we are in good shape for future growth. I can’t reveal too much at the moment, but we will certainly focus on international development, delivering a first-class customer experience and becoming more sustainable. There is room for plenty of improvement in the building and construction sector.

Another important area is training. Our industry is not the most interesting when it comes to attracting the younger generation. Attracting and retaining talent in a sector which isn’t that exciting is a challenge and an area where we can lead the way. I believe we can do more to attract people from outside the industry rather than always look to competitors. The first question when someone is hired is ‘which competitor are you coming from?’. Instead, it should be more about finding someone from outside the industry with other ideas and a different way of thinking, different culture, different language – I believe in diversity. Diverse teams make better decisions.

How do you overcome the issue of attracting talent?

Our focus on sustainability will attract the younger generation. We are committed to sustainable safety and on a journey to reduce our carbon emissions. We are working hard to reduce the energy we consume and secure energy supply from sustainable sources. We are changing the ways we work and focusing our business development on greener and more sustainable products and services. Eventually, we help our clients to reduce their carbon footprint and altogether we contribute to make the world a safer, cleaner and better place.

Can you tell me more about the Cygnus Academy?

The new Cygnus Academy is an in-person, high specification training hub for installers seeking to learn about our new Cygnus wireless fire detection and alarm system. 

It’s located at our HQ in Hereford, and provides a modern, fully equipped, and comfortable environment where installers can complete their training course to become a Cygnus Certified Partner. The course itself combines both theoretical and practical training to give detailed insights into our ground-breaking technology and the skills required to carry out a successful installation.

Upcoming dates include 10th and 24th January and 6th, 14th and 21st February and training can be booked here: [email protected].

What about the new Cygnus fire alarm system?

Wireless technology has been evolving dramatically in recent years and our new system will be a real game-changer for permanent installations, bringing a reliable and safe solution to the market built on wireless mesh network technology.

This system will change the way they can design, install and commission systems for buildings, making the whole process much quicker, easier and much more cost-effective – especially in larger scale installations. Watch this space for more news when the system is launched in Q1 2023.

What are your plans for the Middle East and European markets?

We already have a few established partners in Europe and the Middle East. We are working with them to better understand the requirements of their local markets, identifying where there are opportunities and then supporting them to grow our international business significantly in the years ahead.

What is the main focus for Bull Products right now?

Our Bull Products business is focused on providing reliable, high quality temporary fire safety solutions for construction sites with a separate team and product range dedicated to this market. We have an in-depth understanding of the complex legislation that covers this environment and provide excellent customer service and support to ensure successful installations.

We are looking to grow our business in this sector too, adding new products and services and highlighting the cost-saving and sustainability benefits that customers receive when dealing with us. It’s a really exciting period for both Bull Products and Cygnus – I definitely joined at the right time! 

This article was originally published in the January edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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