Peter Woodd is the Global CEO for Case Station. He is not your ordinary CEO, sitting in an office and not wanting to be bothered with the daily happenings of his business. He is aware of all of it. He is in it from start to finish. I have known and worked with Peter for the past three years, and I can personally validate his passion for getting it right, no matter what. He looks at his life as and adventure, and working with him daily, I can tell you it is. Here is what he had to say…
ME: Tell me how you first got involved with product personalisation?
PETER: Many moons ago while working in the security printing industry we and others developed the production processes and security systems cards, for the manufacture of credit cards, driving licensees, secure ID cards and the like. It was all about personalisation – the high front-end of the security printing industry. Personalisation evolved in the security print industry and I became fascinated with personalisation and its commercial opportunities.
ME: What has surprised you most about Case Station?
PETER: The emotional response of the individual. I totally misread how emotionally engaged customers were with the photos or designs they wanted to use to create cases of their own. And the reality is, we are sharing the responsibility for something that has a big emotional meaning. The evolution of the one to one relationship with the customer is paramount in our business. For us, the quality of the product is very, very important. We are creating cases with pictures of people’s kids, grandkids, emotional events, and it is a great responsibility. I am always surprised when people elect to use cheap products with low resolution images and poor case quality. Our products are guaranteed for life because we build in quality at every step and we expect them to last.
ME: What is your favourite thing about Case Station?
PETER: It is exciting that we actually get to share our developed technology, and make people happy. The customer feedback is amazing. We are a sustainable business and believe that businesses should undertake a responsible role in the community by providing opportunities for young people. We want to provide jobs and careers. We have team members working in the UK, three of whom are ex-army. They were released from the military after sustaining injuries and they are now a necessary part of our Case Station team. We also employee those whom some may classify as being physically disabled, but they all fulfill a very important role in the business. Case Station provides careers for those it employs, and joy for those who receive the products it produces. It’s a win-win situation all around.
ME: Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while launching Case Station globally?
PETER: I have met people from around the world, and have learned something from each one. The business model evolved as a result of a number of years working in an international environment—and the belief that everybody around the world is pretty much the same. From that, the idea of creating an in-country business with a local partner evolved. The concept just grew and grew. When people knew what the aim of the business was, to manufacture and create business in country, it just became inspiring and took off. It developed its own momentum. We have had more successes than we have had failures. There is a risk in this space, but every partner has been able to add value to the Case Station business locally, and, most importantly, they have created local employment in their communities.
ME: What do you think will change for Case Station over the next five years?
PETER: I think It will be more of an evolution of our core technology. I imagine enabling the consumer to be able to go online and actually play a part in the creation of gifts. It may be in respect to wanting to design their own space. Create their own style. Our objective is to work closer and closer with people and to enable them to evolve their own style – whether it is through their mobile devices or whether it is done at their home.
ME: If you weren’t bringing personalization to the world, what would you be doing instead?
PETER: Life is a creative process. I spent a lot of time restoring old properties. I spent time restoring yachts. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what you do, life has to be an adventure. Whatever you do, if you can create something that has a personal benefit and a secondary benefit to others- you have succeeded.
ME: How would someone describe you?
PETER: I tend to be a little relentless in terms of getting things done. But the trick always is to satisfy every dimension….the customer and the people that I work with. I think you can be born with the headset to push hard. I think I have always had that drive. When you find that thing….then success comes from wanting something so badly that time becomes irrelevant. I do a lot of visualization and my mindset is always positive. I just see opportunities and I don’t see that it is going to be tough. There is always a positive outcome to every problem. I have never had issues with taking responsibility and putting in the time to work with the crew to fix issues and meet targets.
We all take on responsibilities for servicing customers’ needs…doing whatever it takes, and we always meet our obligations. I believe the key is to be passionate, it is so empowering working with a great crew that care and put in the effort to deliver excellent quality and service internally and externally. And not to forget that it’s important to have fun in the process, to be truthful and honest to yourself and others.
ME: What do you do when you aren’t working?
PETER: I race a yacht. I don’t stay at home long enough for my wife to be irritated with me. I walk with my wife, and take the dogs for a walk. I don’t look at my life as work. It is definitely not work. It is an adventure. I met so many people when I was in the aerospace industry where it was all about work, but where they couldn’t wait to retire. Life is far too interesting, far too challenging, far too exciting… to contemplate the idea of retiring.
ME: Who is your greatest influence?
PETER: The most important person would be Charlotte, my amazing and lovely wife. She always offers friendship and support. She is inspirational. Nothing is ever too much trouble. We have two great kids. My family are the source of daily inspiration, they have always been part of the adventure, the journey. This journey I made with them, would not have been possible without them. I am fortunate to work with great people and friends – no journey should be alone in life. Sharing the same values, same excitement, same adventure is inspiring. The list is endless, but Bob Skelly has been very much part of my life, our life…and 6 years ago, much to our mutual disappointment (ha ha) we became family, well almost. Experience in life has always demonstrated that there is a power, a force, that is greater than us. We can call this force of goodness…God or depending on our belief, another name, but it is a force. The people that devote their lives to representing their God, whoever they may be, doing good and making a difference for the good of others are truly inspirational .
ME: What has been your biggest life challenge?
PETER: Getting up before 7am. Ha Ha. Dealing with people that have no integrity, are dishonest, and want to leverage people for their own personal benefit.
ME: What’s on your case right now?
PETER: The Hulk with my name on it. Just incase I get lost anywhere. My address is on the inside…Ha ha. Not really, but maybe it should be.
I asked Bob Skelly, Chairman, to tell me something people may be surprised to know about Peter Woodd. The two have known each other for decades and have travelled the world together, if anyone would have an inside scoop…he would.
BOB: Peter is, as one might gather from the above, a very forthright individual, and, if there are any elements of “surprise” in working with him, they wear off pretty quickly. To my mind, Peter’s management style and commitment to success is solidly based on his long experience in competitive sailing, often at close quarters in dangerous conditions where the margins for error are vanishingly small. At bottom, in those situations, it is vital that all aboard understand their individual duties and carry them out quickly and without unneeded comment. The same applies in his approach to business, especially in a global business committed to the quality of its products and the services that it provides. It is no surprise, therefore, that Peter has a portrait of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson prominently displayed as a reminder of Nelson’s signal to his fleet before the battle of Trafalgar that “England expects that each man will do his duty”.
Nelson was victorious, and, in each of their respective businesses, Case Station and its sister companies are now the standards against which all others in those fields are measured.
So there you have it, Peter Woodd, leader, builder, adventurer.