Agency Makeover Marks Most Successful Year for SAAS Global’s Sister Companies

Read below a fantastic article published in The Yorkshire Post about our new office!

A famous Wesleyan chapel has become the home of a software and advertising agency which aims to reel in a £20m turnover in the next three years.

The historic building in Market Weighton is the headquarters of SAAS Global (Software And Advertising Services), which is bringing jobs and investment to rural Yorkshire.

SAAS Global is the holding company for Simplytrak a vehicle tracking and telematics specialists, Forward & Thinking, an advertising, media buying and commercial production company and Wold Outdoor, the group’s property development arm.

The chapel has been home to the sister companies for eight years since the husband and wife team of directors Andrew and Alison Johnson, bought the building, which had been empty for more than five years.

The couple gutted the interior, and took more than a year to convert the space into a modern workplace. The chapel has now re-opened, after the couple spent around £20,000 on refurbishments, decorating and interior furnishings.

Staff from Forward & Thinking and Simplytrak have returned to the chapel after 18 months of working remotely.

SAAS Global Founder and Director, Andrew Johnson said:

“For over two years, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Alison and I had searched for new, bigger offices to manage the expansion for both Forward & Thinking and Simplytrak.

Our search was in vain, and we couldn’t find anything for sale or lease to the standard we already had at the chapel. We were on the point of buying the premises next door to renovate and expand into when Covid struck.

In an instant the office was closed, businesses were thrown into a state of emergency, survival became a priority. We were forced to adapt quickly, and our teams responded superbly – everyone supported each other and worked tirelessly to ensure our customer service levels were maintained whilst working remotely.”

Andrew Johnson

During the pandemic, the sister businesses grew faster than ever, with client wins and new orders secured by Simplytrak and Forward & Thinking.

Mr Johnson said:

“We went to town on what was already a great place to work”.

Andrew Johnson

Ten new starters joined the companies during lockdown, so their first time visiting the office was for the re-opening event, which also involved them meeting their new colleagues for the first time face to face.

Natalie Downie, Forward & Thinking’s managing director, said,

“Moving to a split of working from home and in the office, we wanted to create an office environment that was versatile and maximised the space we had.

We have created an open hub for collaborative work that is inspiring and embodies our culture. The open space suits all needs with single desks, group tables, and sofas offering the flexibility to work in the correct environment for any project.

The ‘launch day’ was the first time we had all seen each other together in over 18 months. The day was everything we wanted it to be and more. We have an exciting future ahead and the office is just the start.”

Natalie Downie

With 10 new hires joining the business during the pandemic, SAAS now employs nine people, Simplytrak has grown to seven people, and Forward & Thinking has reached 13 staff.

The group’s 2020 turnover was around £2.85m.

Mr Johnson added:

“As a proud business owner and Yorkshireman I believe that if we are not a profitable group with a £20m turnover in three years then we will have done something wrong.

I have no doubt we will achieve this goal. My hope is that within the next five years we will be very well known throughout the UK featuring on a number of fast track lists.

Yorkshire has some great universities and colleges that nurture talent. It also has some tremendously hard working people, many of whom we have done well to discover, hire, and retain.

Equally those who move to Yorkshire don’t tend to leave.

It’s a special place to live and work. Yorkshire is full of small towns where honesty and respect get you a long way.

Reputations are vital to build and uphold as Yorkshire folk are not big forgivers and business people tend to have long memories.

So building virtuous circles matters here. Being located in ‘God’s own country’ means that the drive into work through stunning countryside sets us all up for the working day in a very positive way too. Like many Yorkshire based businesses we work hard, play hard and hold our values tight.”

Andrew Johnson

Read The Yorkshire Post’s article here!