Read the latest in our series of blogs looking ahead to the upcoming May local elections, as Senior Account Executive Billy Holmes reviews the battle in Nuneaton.
Current status: CON majority (25 Conservative, 6 Labour, 2 Independents, 1 Green)
Elections for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council will take place on Thursday (5 May 2022), giving residents the power to decide who will represent them and deliver local services.
Given this borough’s recent political history, voters in these market towns and surrounding villages are uniquely positioned to make their voices heard at a national level, should they rebel.
Before boundary changes in 2002, the council had 45 seats and was dominated by the Labour Party: they held between 35 and 41 of these seats between 1998 and 2000 (Tony Blair’s first premiership)
The 2002 changes significantly reduced the total number of seats on the council (to 34) and, on Thursday 2 May 2002, Labour’s majority was cut from 25 to 18. The game was afoot.
Since then, the Council has swung with the national mood of the country. Labour remained the majority party until 2008 when the Conservatives gained an additional three seats – bringing them up to 18 – and the British National Party made a surprise appearance.
Voters then swung back to Labour in 2010, which continued to dominate elections in 2012, 2014 and 2016, exactly seven weeks before 66% of residents voted to leave the EU. In the wake of this result, it should come as little surprise that Labour lost eight seats in 2018. However, they still remained the majority party until last year, when their share of the vote collapsed. Labour ended up with just 20.6% of the vote and lost 10 councillors. The Conservatives, on the other hand, received 70.6% and gained 8, leaving them with 24 seats to Labour’s seven.
Although all three of the borough’s local MPs are Conservatives – and two have been in office since 2010 – only a year has passed since Conservative councillors received the lion’s share of the votes (and seats) there. Nationally, the party continues to be rocked by a series of scandals.
Given there has been very little change in turnout over the past few years, voters have shown themselves to be highly changeable. With Labour and the Conservatives standing candidates in all 17 wards, alongside 15 Green Party candidates and 5 Independents, each will be hotly contested. Half of the council’s seats are up for grabs next Thursday.
A significant swing away from the Conservative Party here would be a damning indictment of the Government that they would do well to take seriously.
With more fines reportedly on their way to No. 10, Conservative councillors across the country have been attempting to distance themselves from the national party. There’s a lot at stake in Nuneaton and Bedworth. It’ll be interesting to see how local councillors deal with voters’ questions on ‘party gate’ and the cost-of-living crisis on the doorstep.
Will residents punish local councillors at the ballot box for their national counterparts’ behaviour or allow them another couple of years to show what they can do now they are the majority party?
If previous elections are anything to go by, with the national mood in the country swinging towards Labour, this is going to be a key battleground. If Keir Starmer wants to become Prime Minister in two years’ time, this is exactly the part of middle England that he has to win back. Will he?
Time will tell.
When: Tuesday 26th April 2022 , 08:30 – 10:30am (BST)
Where: Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London, WC1E 7BT
(Breakfast will be provided)
To register for your free place, click here
On Tuesday 26th April 2022 at 08:30, Copper Consultancy, specialists in communication and engagement, will be hosting ‘Net zero: A Material Consideration’, a panel discussion and networking breakfast for industry leaders in infrastructure and construction, to address key issues in the transition towards Net Zero.
Hosted at The Building Centre in London, the free-to-attend event is set to attract talent and industry voices from experts in architecture, design, construction, product manufacturing, and multi-disciplinaries.
The purpose of the event is to bring together representatives from leading organisations to generate tangible recommendations and come together to discuss best practice, lessons learned and recent innovations. This session will help to drive forward the debate and discussion on methods and tactics for achieving Net Zero.
The panel session will be chaired by Belinda Gordon, Strategy Director at The Green Alliance. Belinda will be joined by James Woodall, Head of Sustainability at Allies and Morrison, and Marian Garfield, Director of Sustainability at Hanson UK Ltd. Additional panellists will be named closer to the event.
The panel will consider some of the ways in which the built environment can address net zero carbon and explore the steps the industry is taking to increase the circularity of the construction industry economy.
Ben Heatley, Managing Partner at Copper Consultancy, commented: “According to the World Green Building Council, buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.
“Driving down these emissions is front and centre of discussion and debate in our sector. Understanding what we can do to achieve the dramatic reductions in embodied carbon that are required to meet our ambitious net zero goals can help all players – from materials providers to design consultants, to map out a path to a low carbon future that delivers for people and place and returns a positive ROI.”
Copper Consultancy, the specialist infrastructure and communications engagement agency, has appointed Ronan Cloud to lead its Economic Development practice.
As a seasoned corporate communications strategist, Ronan brings a wealth of industry and stakeholder engagement expertise to the growing Economic Development team. Ronan joins Copper from Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading public relations firms, where he advised multinational organisations and governing bodies in his role as Director.
The Economic Development practice helps public and private sector partners deliver a diverse portfolio of projects through stakeholder engagement and strategic communications. The recently announced levelling up strategy and the UK’s net zero by 2050 target are two drivers of continued growth for the practice.
In response to demand for its specialist services, Copper has added a number of senior hires over the past six months. As the latest, Ronan brings experience of working with global organisations to solve complex challenges in the energy, construction, manufacturing and technology industries.
“Copper is at the coal face of delivering the UK’s ambitious plans for a prosperous and sustainable future,” said Ronan. “There has never been more opportunity to shape the country’s economy as we emerge from the pandemic and attention turns to a net zero future and levelling up the nation. I’m delighted to join the team at this exciting time.”
In his role, Ronan will be responsible for supporting Copper’s existing client portfolio, as well as expanding both its offering and network.
“Since its inception, the Economic Development practice has evolved to serve the needs of the changing political landscape,” said Martin McCrink, managing partner at Copper. “Ronan’s expertise and enthusiasm makes him a huge asset for Copper. Under his leadership, we’re excited to take on increasingly diverse client challenges.”
Founded 25 year ago, Copper Consultancy is dedicated to delivering strategic communications to support clients in the development of economic and social infrastructure.
Copper continues to expand and is currently recruiting across all job levels in its London, Bristol and Birmingham offices. To explore its latest openings, please visit www.copperconsultancy.com/join-us/.
Our Senior Account Manager Laura Cunliffe-Hall explores why women’s safety must be placed at the heart of venues and public spaces through improved placemaking.
This International Women’s Day, it’s imperative to reflect not only on progress made regarding women’s rights, but on how we can continue to improve women’s experiences of public spaces.
Initiatives across the UK are seeking to take positive steps to respond to urgent concerns surrounding women’s safety. In Leeds, Women’s Night Safe Space pilot, a joint safety bus initiative between Women’s Lives Leeds and Safer Leeds, will be piloted in Dortmund Square over the next three weekends and will be a space where women can come if they feel concerned, unsafe, unwell or vulnerable. The initiative responded to a survey by Leeds Women’s Safety in May 2021, which identified that 50% of women of all ages, from all parts of the city, often or always felt unsafe in the city centre at night.
This bus pilot initiative follows the recent launch of the Home Office Enough campaign, designed to challenge perpetrators of street harassment, unwanted touching and coercive control. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has also announced additional funding, on top of a £60m investment in tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG), to help make venues and public spaces in the capital safer for women at night. Lighting and public realm improvement are also essential to improving how women can fully participate safely in public spaces.
A #LighttheWay campaign in Clyde is calling on Glasgow City Council to reverse its position on park lighting and light the main routes in Glasgow city centre parks to keep people safe at night. One of the key motivations behind this campaign is to enable women’s full participation within public spaces. Placemaking is the key to unlocking this.
Better placemaking can help us #BreaktheBias and ensure that women’s safety is protected across public life. Safety must be given prime consideration while shaping our cities and towns from the outset.
Steps we can take to make our spaces more inclusive and safer for women:
- Any planning or placemaking process must include and amplify women’s voices – giving women and girls a seat at the table makes it easier to understand the challenges we face in public spaces and shows a genuine commitment to a dialogue of improvement.
- Safety audits – providing a detailed analysis of potential risks within developments and planning applications that could have an impact on people’s safety. Dr Ellie Cosgrave, a lecturer in urban innovation and policy at University College London, has identified the need to understand the “social dynamics” of an area by conducting surveys, speaking to people, and implementing changes – a detailed safety audit could encompass these factors.
- Better lighting – Arup have published reports and research on topics entitled ‘Cities Alive: Rethinking the Shades of Night’ and ‘Making Cities Safer for Women and Girls’ focusing on how the way light bounces off different road colours, surface finishes or the brightness of the area outside of the concentrated beam of light can affect our perceptions of brightness and safety in a space. Better lighting of spaces to reflect women’s lived experiences will positively improve how we are able to participate in public spaces.
- Improving landscaping and external visibility – natural surveillance and landscaping spaces strategically not only improves access to nature, which is important for both physical and mental wellbeing, but provides improved visibility that makes outside spaces safer.
- Regular maintenance of shared spaces– Funding to maintain and also upgrade shared spaces, across both developments and the wider public realm, projects an image of community and collective civic pride, as opposed to neglect, making spaces more egalitarian and removing the possibility of being isolated or ‘cut off’ that can create situations of vulnerability.
Further investment is required to generate tangible long-term change to make women safer.
By working collaboratively to address these genuine concerns relating to women’s safety, developers, planners and policymakers can look to future proof our communities.
It is essential that all of us in the infrastructure and development sectors work together to ensure that women’s, and all of our safety, is put at the heart of the placemaking process.
This #IWD2022, we must recognise the need to facilitate placemaking and safe space initiatives that enable and improve women’s participation across our public spaces.
To find out more about collaborative placemaking and improving safety, please contact Laura Cunliffe-Hall, Senior Account Manager within Copper’s Economic Development practice at Laura.Cunliffe-Hall@copperconsultancy.com
Ben Heatley, Managing Partner at Copper Consultancy discusses how the UK should respond to war in Ukraine, suggesting that it should be a catalyst for more rapid change in the country’s energy system.
The world has looked on in horror as scenes of violence and destruction have emerged from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The crisis is humanitarian, and every effort must be taken to bring pressure on Russia to halt their aggression, so that focus can move to supporting the millions of Ukrainians who have been bereaved, injured and displaced.
Western nations have responded swiftly, seeking to exert economic and political pressure on the Putin regime, in an attempt to force a change in strategy, and to limit funding to the Russian armed forces.
There is a significant limitation to the West’s plan, namely Europe’s reliance on Russian oil, and particularly gas. Some Eastern European nations are almost exclusively supplied with Russian gas, while Germany and Austria receive about 50% of their gas supplies from Russia.
On the surface, the UK is not as dependent, receiving approximately 5% of our supplies from Russia, but that doesn’t tell the full story as we live in an interconnected world, and it’s challenging to distinguish exactly where gas that arrives via pipeline has originated from.
One response to this crisis, will inevitably be to seek to increase supplies from the North Sea and Norway, along with LNG supplies from Qatar and elsewhere. However, that is a short term solution that will not address the fundamental challenge of an overreliance on one country for our energy supplies. It will also not enable us all to transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.
The International Energy Association has produced a ten point plan to reduce the use of Russian oil and gas, while accelerating the transition to net-zero. As a country, the UK needs to take every opportunity to enact these recommendations, so that we can put greater pressure on Russia, and accelerate our own transition to an affordable, reliable, sustainable and self-sufficient energy system.
The good news is that we are already in line with a number of the EIA’s recommendations. We are planning a transition away from gas boilers, we are expanding renewable energy systems with offshore wind and solar schemes booming, and we do have a strategy to support the nuclear industry, particularly by backing small modular reactors.
We must move faster to support the UK’s energy market at a time of enormous uncertainty and price rises, and to play our part in international relations. Renewable technologies not only represent the most environmentally sustainable solution, but they are also the most affordable and self-sufficient options.
Making rapid progress in our own energy independence also sends a message to Russia that we are preparing for a future where dirty, carbon intensive, imported fuels will no longer be necessary, and therefore cannot be used as a high stakes bargaining chip.
In practical terms, that means the Government making clear and decisive policy decisions to prioritise a rapid transition to clean energy independence. It must come forward with the long expected National Policy Statements on energy, giving clear and unequivocal backing to renewables and nuclear power, and transmission upgrades. The Government must emphasise that at a local level, planning authorities should support solar energy schemes as a means to get additional clean energy into the grid quickly. The Government must also rescind the moratorium on onshore wind in the England, as a clear statement of intent.
At a domestic level, far more needs to be done to insulate homes and install heat pumps in place of gas boilers. The hydrogen and district heating industries must also be further supported to play their part in decarbonising domestic heat.
Some commentators have suggested that the UK should reinvest in domestic gas production, and possibly even fracking, in response to war in Ukraine. There may be a small role for increased domestic supply from the North Sea. But in the long term this is seriously flawed logic, as it only serves to tie the UK further into a hydrocarbon based energy system, which is interconnected to Russia and has faced unprecedented price inflation in recent months.
The future isn’t about replicating the past. Instead we must accept the compromises inherent in the need to genuinely shift from an unsustainable system, to a sustainable one. In that process, we must all make compromises, by accepting that new energy infrastructure will impact us all in some way with views and landscapes changed, and our homes altered.
We must simultaneously do more to support the poorest, helping them to weather short and medium term price rises far more effectively than we have to date.
In the second world war, the UK was encouraged to dig for victory, in order to supplement domestic food supplies and reduce reliance on imports. That initiative saw parks, playgrounds and gardens transformed into allotments. We face a very different situation today, but in order to tackle the combined threat of climate emergency and energy insecurity, we may need a similarly united national effort to achieve our goals.
Interested in learning more about this or other topics discussed on our website? Then please contact us at: https://www.copperconsultancy.com/contact/
Copper has expanded its senior team to provide transport clients with ever increasingly valuable insight, strategy and delivery. A new transport focused Senior Management Team is delivering industry leading communication and stakeholder engagement, on some of the country’s most exciting infrastructure projects.
The new hires bring senior expertise and experience to Copper from across the communications, construction, consenting and town planning sectors.
Copper brings together a blended set of skills, the latest knowledge and best practice on planning policies, along with a strong creative flair. This is a combination that will deliver our clients engaging and innovative communications to enhance stakeholder engagement and achieve desired outcomes for projects.
- Tom Bennett joins from Amey, heading up Copper’s diverse portfolio of highways schemes as Associate Director.
- Josh Hodder joins from National Highways bringing his experience of leading conversations with communities, politicians and the media.
- Laura Nelson joins from Amey and brings branding, campaign and engagement expertise based on customer insight diagnostics.
- Gemma Lloyd joins Atkins and brings expertise in communicating complexity to diverse customers.
With a long-term vision to change the way people think and feel about infrastructure, Tom, Josh, Laura and Gemma strengthen the services that we can deliver to both new and existing clients. Whether it is direction, advice or support we can ensure you are getting effective and outcome driven strategies, helping both customers and stakeholders. For more information or an opportunity to chat through how we can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The team has a proven track record of successfully delivering positive customer and stakeholder outcomes across many complex DCO, and Highways Act infrastructure projects.
The team’s passion for customer driven outcomes, can be seen across their career history.
Copper’s new appointments:
Tom’s leadership experience of delivering numerous challenging projects and programmes across public sectors, with his successful track record of project and programme management in a stakeholder setting. Tom has successfully delivered projects from Options Identification through to Construction phases, recently in the East, North West and Midlands regions on projects and programmes ranging from £30m to £350m.
Josh Hodder led the £330m A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross scheme where the project was cited in parliament as a good practice example of how the environment can be central to the decision making process. Josh led the external communication to position to the scheme with stakeholders.
Gemma pushed boundaries to drive forward a visual immersive solution for the £250m M25 J10 scheme to replace virtual rooms. An online experience that led to increased scheme awareness, diversified its reach and increased trust with both customers and stakeholders.
Laura’s customer focused attitude can be seen in her award recognition last year being a finalist for Best Use of Customer Insight, commended at the CIHT awards for Team of the Year, and finalist for Customer Focused Network Management at the Highways Awards.
During Black History Month we made a promise to celebrate our black peers and colleagues from across the built environment, sharing their experiences, insights and perspectives. To round off 2021 we are in conversation with Che Onyiliogwu, a Senior Account Executive at Copper.
Can you please provide your job title & a brief role description?
I’m a Senior Account Executive at Copper Consultancy, and I work within the Infrastructure Practice. I have largely worked on, and will continue to work on, National Grid projects, which will see new energy infrastructure implemented across England. My role involves supporting the team in the delivery and documenting of stakeholder engagement.
Can you tell us about your journey to reach your current position?
I studied History at the University of York where I enjoyed reading and writing about the wide ranging span of British, transatlantic and world History and the political climates that sat beneath them. By the end of my studies, I realised I wanted a career in politics and communications.
Whilst I looked for roles I could go into, I returned to my secondary school as a Teaching Assistant helping children with Special Educational Needs. Being in this role for just over a year, I was able to cultivate complementary skills that would stand me in good stead for future roles. The flexibility in this role also enabled me to undertake two weeks of work experience at Lexington Communications. These two weeks offered a brief introduction into the world of politics and communications, and reaffirmed my desire to work in this field.
At the beginning of 2019 I joined GL Hearn, where I was first exposed to planning communications, and the infrastructure sector, through working on the Luton Airport Expansion Project. This was a very challenging project which had to counteract climate challenges, but the experience it afforded me in terms of interacting with a variety of stakeholders was extremely beneficial. For the most part, I worked on residential schemes, which taught me the importance of truly understanding the areas in which you work and tailoring your communications offer to reflect that area.
I’ve been able to bring the variety of my experience to Copper Consultancy where I hope to grow my career and develop my knowledge.
What were the main 3 challenges that you faced in your career?
Similar to a lot of graduates, I didn’t have the necessary experience once I’d finished university, and so I struggled to find the job that I really wanted.
I was also placed on furlough and subsequently made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 2020 was a challenging year for a lot of people, from a personal and professional perspective. I felt I had made significant professional progress in early 2020, and so for that to come to an abrupt end was very frustrating.
The final challenge I’ve encountered follows on from my previous one, and it was restarting work again in 2021. I was excited to restart but, having not worked for a significant period, I was aware that it could take me a while to readjust. Keeping my brain active by starting to relearn French certainly helped!
Do you see changes in representation in the industry, positive or negative?
More progress certainly needs to be made in terms of representation in the industry and this is at all levels. Part of the problem that I’ve noticed is that a career in the built environment and communications is not widely promoted or even known about. Children regularly mention they want to work in business, finance or become a doctor, and many from a black background have parents who are also keen for their children to explore these options. One way this could improve would be if children were encouraged to take more of an interest in politics and local affairs, increasing the likelihood of them later working in this field.
Do you have any advice for someone with a similar career goal?
Explore as many professional opportunities you can when you are at school and University. This is something I did not do and still regret. Employers will look very fondly upon this experience when hiring you later down the line.
As part of the Black Lives Matter UK #ProudToBe campaign, can you share something you are proud of?
I’m proud to come from a Nigerian family where strength of character, perseverance and taking pride in my work were instilled in me from a very young age. These are attributes that I’m proud to have and excited to display going forward at Copper.
Join us back in 2022 for more insights and career stories from inspirational colleagues across the sector. If you wish to share your own insights, please contact Copper today.
2021 has been a series of successes for Copper Consultancy’s Construction Practice, and despite all the challenges of this year, we have come to the end of the year stronger than ever. We have selected highlights from throughout the year that demonstrate not just what we have achieved but the strong foundation that the Construction Practice will be building on in 2022.
January saw the publication of our industry insights report. In this report we invited feedback from over 200 contractors over a two-month period from a range of organisations, to provide a lessons learned, and to support contractors in 2021 with a shared understanding of where they have settled after such a unique time.
In March we profiled key contacts throughout Women in Construction Week, showcasing the industries strengths and talents. Female representation in the Construction industry has a long way to go and encouraging more women to seek a career in UK construction is something we’re proud to be a champion of.
May saw the Construction Practice host a virtual event for construction firms – ‘insights from a new golden age of rail stations. This included our follow up perspectives pieces from HS2 Ltd and WSP’s Rail Group. To be part of these exciting projects is something we at the Construction Practice are incredibly proud of.
June saw us focusing on Pride in UK Construction, which included Insights from industry leaders. Who spoke about how we can make the sector more inclusive and improve how we factor LGBTQ+ considerations into infrastructure and development going forward.
As a Construction Practice we also developed marketing campaigns to support contractors including World Suicide Prevention Day and World Mental Health Day. We were also proud sponsors of the Construction Manager of the Year Awards in September. October saw the Construction Practice at the UK Construction Week, as well as a series highlighting the stories of BAME people in UK construction roles. We are incredibly proud to be supporting initiatives that celebrate diversity, as well as championing the industry in whichever way we can.
2021 also saw a number of new colleagues joining us which strengthened the practice’s offering, bringing a wealth of sector knowledge, can-do attitude, and senior strategic capability to help bring in new business and leverage current clients. A massive thank you to Will, Jack, Alice, Ella, Zoe and Georgie for their hard work this year.
2021 has proven to be a busy year, with Copper’s construction practice continuing to grow substantially from strength to strength, Copper’s construction practice has continued to grow substantially in the last year, supporting projects including Hinkley Point C Grid Connection, West Midlands Interchange, HS2, and working for companies including National Highways, Cadent Gas, National Grid, Costain and Murphy.
From everyone at Copper, thank you! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you all in 2022!
Key findings: research on public attitudes to infrastructure planning
- 13% of the public believe that consultation on infrastructure projects has any impact on projects or people personally
- 25% of people don’t know if the UK is good at delivering infrastructure projects
- More than 20% of people would never get involved in the planning process even if it would have a direct impact on them or increase their quality of life
- But there is support for change – 35% of people believe that consultation should reach a wider audience or be sped up significantly
Only 13% of the public believe that consultation on infrastructure projects has any impact on projects or people personally, while a quarter of people just don’t know if the UK is good at delivering infrastructure projects – an increase of more than 15% since being asked the same question five years ago.
The results come from latest research into public attitudes to infrastructure planning by Copper Consultancy and as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ consultation on reforming the infrastructure planning process comes to a close.
More than a fifth of people stated they would never get involved in the planning process even if it would have a direct impact on them or increase their quality of life. Of those who would get involved the majority stated it would only be if a project would have an impact on their property. But there is support for change, with 35% of people indicating that consultation should reach a wider audience or be sped up significantly.
As the government considers changes to the planning system, Copper Consultancy makes five key recommendations for improving public participation:
- Deliver an overarching communications campaign to market infrastructure’s role to the public, building understanding and excitement, rather than relying on individual projects to tell a disjointed story
- Recognise consultation as a valuable part of the planning process that can offer genuine insight from the people who will use the infrastructure or live locally – not a tick box exercise to meet a legal requirement
- Evolve the consultation process to seek feedback little and often, making it an ongoing engagement process not a milestone event
- Focus on the why – recognise the need for different types of information to be available for different audience group. Not everyone will be interested in the technical detail of a project, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested at all. Providing different ‘entry points’ to projects, showing why people should care and what’s in it for them will encourage better participation.
- Truly embrace digital where everyone involved in infrastructure planning understands its value – not reverting to traditional consultation mechanisms which require people to come to projects
Andrew Weaver, Director of Infrastructure at Copper Consultancy, said: “There is no joined-up approach to communicating or involving the public in infrastructure planning. Where there is communication or consultation, it is usually in a way where we expect people to come to the process, rather than taking it to people. As a result, the public remain largely uninformed or detached from the process.
“To improve understanding of the value of investment in infrastructure – and the speed and quality of planning applications, the government, arms-length government bodies and other statutory bodies should come together to deliver an engaging, exciting communications campaign that sits above individual projects and raises awareness of the critical role infrastructure plays in all of our daily lives. This will provide stakeholders and communities with a base level of understanding and encourage better two-way dialogue about the detail of individual projects.
“Our sector has a vital role in tackling some of the UK’s biggest challenges, levelling up the country and delivery better results for people across the country. We look forward to seeing the evolution of the planning process to hopefully enable more people to get involved and deliver even better outcomes for communities.”
Copper Consultancy is a specialist infrastructure communications agency founded 25 years ago. The fast-growing company offers services spanning the breadth of the sector, including economic development, infrastructure planning, construction, corporate communications, public affairs and creative services. All the Company’s work remains focused upon supporting organisations and project teams within the infrastructure, development and construction sectors, helping them to achieve their goals and better serve their customers.