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60 seconds with…Patrick Winterbotham, Managing Director, Data Direct

What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?

COVID continues to sit front and centre in terms of business disruption, and the knock-on effect carries through to logistics and business in general. Transport costs have been hit by soaring fuel costs and a lack of supply of vessels have led to some price hikes. We are very lucky to work with excellent suppliers and fantastic and loyal customers – the big impact is we work together to relentlessly find solutions to minimise any impact – it’s our customer-first culture.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?

As a business, we have continued to tackle challenges by creating opportunities, either for our suppliers or our customers, and most often both. By being a nimble, intuitive and innovative distributor, the service we provide has never been more important. We will figure out the best possible solutions and outcomes with whoever we work with. One growing trend from these past couple of years of disruption is our enabling of dealers to minimise their own stock exposure, minimising unnecessary costs, while still offering the most excellent service to their users.

What would make your day job easier? 

Other than a crystal ball? Clarity, transparency and data are all crucial. As long as we stay on the current path of riding out the current spike in COVID cases, we know what we are dealing with. If we are suddenly hit with another lockdown, it’s another game changer, but we’ll step up.

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?

Plan for the worst, hope for the best. It’s a mantra that works, is shared among all and makes us step up to the expectations placed upon us by our customers.

If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?

That’s a huge question. We work hard for our customers ensuring they have the right, marketable products, available and competitively priced. Two years ago, for sure, we would have filled the warehouse to the rafters with PPE! In a bizarre way, the epidemic has in some ways been good for the business – it forced us to be (and proved that we can be) very nimble and highly innovative. We were able to react very quickly to developing market conditions, and to educate and serve our dealers in completely new product sets.

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What was your first job?

Apart from a Paper round, I spent several years crewing on Super Yachts in the Mediterranean.

What would be your dream job?

Assessing new golf courses round the world.

Favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere with snow. I go skiing with the family over Christmas which is magical, then at half term and sometimes even at Easter. And that’s not enough.

Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?

A fine curry and a pint.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I’m lucky enough to live by the sea, so spending time windsurfing and paddle boarding is always great to do with the family, otherwise any opportunity to get on the golf course or play some tennis.

Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you like to drive it?

I recently had to borrow a works van to beat the French lockdown before Christmas. Now all I want is a fully customised VW transporter, to do more road trips to the Alps in a bit more comfort.