As Canopy Safety gains huge popularity in our sector, we asked KVF Director, Lee Kennedy, to tell us where it all began?
Well, it all started at the end of 2015, when Jamie McPhie left the Army and started to work at KVF with me. Jamie was our first full-time team member and 5 years later, now delivers our face to face First Aid and Fire Safety courses, in addition to being a Senior Safety Advisor, visiting hundreds of motor trade sites across the UK.
During the early days of KVF, we often talked about building an online system that could benefit our own customers and be used in larger automotive businesses by internal health and safety teams. Back then, it seemed like a dream - a million miles away. Now, it’s not just a reality, it’s better than we ever expected!
At the time of writing this blog, Canopy Safety is being used by hundreds of businesses. Whether it’s as a software solution for a Safety Manager, or as part of one of our KVF motor trade safety management solution packages, it has evolved - with the help of early adopters who have embraced the move away from paper-based systems or disjointed arrangements being used in many sites.
The next turning point for Canopy Safety’s development came when on a flight to Spain in 2016 with body shop industry legend Leon Coupland. Anybody that has met Leon will be surprised to hear that he is a nervous flyer and I distracted him with my ideas about an online system. He listened at first to take his mind off of flying but eventually became quite interested and, by the time we landed, we spent the next few days of the business retreat discussing what would become 'Canopy Safety' joined by Steven Shore of Shorade Accident Repair, who also loved the concept.
Excited and following these conversations, I started to think of why the industry needed this. Because since the financial crisis in 2008, every motor industry business operates leaner than ever; targets always go up but there are never any more resources to deal with them. Also, the technology within the industry was changing with the introduction of electric vehicles, manufacturers would be exposing people working within the automotive industry to more risks.
I began to think about how I was going to get this developed and how I would fund it? How we could get this to market, what the system would consist of and we still needed a name.
I looked at a few names and only one fitted for me. When I was a young paratrooper, the one thing that made me feel safer when jumping from a Hercules C-130 aircraft was the canopy of my parachute! and so Canopy Safety was born!
Grant Cardone was right in his book "the 10X Rule" when he said that we vastly underestimate how long a project will last, how much money it will cost and how much effort it will take to achieve any goal worth pursuing. I personally felt like giving up at several times as we struggled to find the right developers, fund the project or convince customers that my new idea was good enough for them. The problem with doing something innovative is that not everyone understands a problem exists and that yours is the most viable solution.
We released the first version of Canopy Safety in late 2018 and have released several upgrades, listening to customer feedback and our KVF Team to improve the user experience. After its success in the UK, we are also hoping to launch Canopy Safety in North America, via an automotive professional who is keen to partner with us to push into overseas markets.
KVF has always been about having an 'outlaw' mentality, this is in part due to my curious and somewhat rebellious nature; my tendency to constantly question business, the automotive industry, health & safety; and forever wanting to disrupt in a positive way that increases value for our customers.
KVF and Canopy Safety are bound with a set of audacious goals; our model is long term growth through reinvestment and acquisition, our passion is helping people in an industry that we have become intimately involved in and have a genuine love for the businesses and people who operate and work within this sector our focus is on constant improvement of our services and products to enable our customers to create safer work places, practices allowing them to focus fully on selling and repairing vehicles of all sizes.
Our mission is providing businesses in our chosen industries with the best advice, guidance, services and products to enable their teams to work safer than ever, to reduce risks and work towards constantly improving safety cultures globally.
If our advice helps as many people as possible to work safer and reduces the risk of accidents every day, we are achieving our immediate goals.
If you would like to know more about Canopy Safety, KVF or any of our services and products, I welcome you to call me on 07535 877180 or email me at email@example.com
Thank you for your time.