Wednesday 26 October 2016

What I wish I'd known before I started: Thirty years ago I didn't envisage that my own role would transform so dramatically

Brian Donaldson, Group General Manager, Maxol Group

Brian Donaldson

Published 12/07/2015 | 02:30

Brian Donaldson
Brian Donaldson

I started my career with Maxol in Northern Ireland back in 1986, after qualifying with a business degree from Bradford University. In those days, business was very different. The speed of change and communication was much slower along with consumer expectations being less demanding than today.

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I guess the biggest thing that I am in awe of is the pace of technological advancement over the past 30 years. If I knew back then how much IT would play a vital part in business, I would have certainly had a greater insight into future consumer expectations and demands that I could have used to predict future business trends. The world wide web has brought information, services and goods into every business and household around the globe, at the touch of a button.

How could one have anticipated the fast evolution of technology and its vital role in business today? Everything is in real time, instantaneous and that has become the expectation for consumers. What's more, technology allows us to learn the buying habits of our customers so that we can offer them what they want. Had I known all of this before starting my career, planning opportunities would have been vastly different and so, too, our vision for the service station of the future.

The speed of new technology will continue to play a vital role in changing consumer habits and one to watch is the advances in battery technology and how they will change car design, and dare I say it, affect the types of fuel we may be supplying from our network in years to come.

Thirty years ago I didn't envisage that my own role would also transform so dramatically. Three decades on and I'm working for a business that is no longer a mere fuel provider, which has meant I've had to adapt along the way to help evolve the brand so that it encompasses a full retail destination.

The Irish oil market has evolved in a manner that I frankly never envisaged. A large number of our competitors have come and gone; the big multinational oil companies are no longer in Ireland. Maxol, meanwhile, is a 4th-generation business owned by the McMullan family, continuing its success, which is so rare to see these days.

It has been a privilege to be part of it and have the opportunity to still contribute.

Sunday Indo Business

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