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Headshot of Ashley BijsterImperial Civil Enforcement Solutions: A Modaxo Acquisition Story

“The Modaxo leadership network is ‘the board you could never afford!’ The way we share issues and successes is such a great and powerful thing” – Ashley Bijster, Managing Director, Imperial

Imperial Managing Director Ashley Bijster is a ‘people person’. Bubbly, warm and a born networker, she is perhaps the perfect fit for an organisation like Modaxo, where sharing and learning are central to the entire ethos.

As the Managing Director prior to Imperial’s acquisition in 2019, Ashley has a unique perspective on life with Modaxo – and she is delighted to report that things couldn’t have gone better.

Pre-Acquisition Discussions

The Imperial acquisition was the result of many years of dialogue, which meant that when it came time to sell, the owner knew Modaxo would be there.

“I was Imperial’s Managing Director prior to the acquisition. The owner had started the business and would have had many offers to sell, but it was important to find the right home. Imperial is a bit like a big family, and both myself and the owner had a strong sense of responsibility to the team. Finding the right parent to nurture our ‘baby’ was foremost in my mind.”

A Great Fit

Ashley had some nerves prior to meeting the Modaxo team, but reports that any fears were very quickly allayed:

“Right from the start I could see that Modaxo was a great fit. The Modaxo CEO leading the acquisition was lovely, and everyone went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. I felt completely reassured that this was a supportive environment – and that Modaxo really wanted it to happen.”

“Private equity investors can feel cold, but Modaxo was completely different. I felt like I was joining a family with a good team that I would step into – that was very important to me.”

The Modaxo Approach

It was clear to Ashley that Modaxo was a good home for Imperial:

“Modaxo buys businesses knowing that it can make them better. I felt that Modaxo really wanted to work with us, and that we had a chance to make our business its best self.”

“The fact that Modaxo is focused on people transportation was a big positive for me. I love the concept of a Smart City and how technology can make a difference  and I am interested in, and involved with, the ITS scene. When I looked at Modaxo and its businesses I could see a strong connection.”

Managing the Change

While an acquisition inevitably presents some upheaval, Ashley reports that the Modaxo team worked with her to avoid issues especially in relation to the communications:

“It was a big change for us, but Modaxo’s CEO visited our key customers alongside me to talk through the process and provide reassurance. That was really important from a client perspective – they felt comfortable and secure, and had an opportunity to ask any questions.”

“Modaxo leaders also came and met our staff to talk through the key elements, especially relating to what people could expect in terms of talent management from part of a larger organisation. It was all very supportive.”

Life Within Modaxo

Ashley has retained her autonomy while leveraging central resources to better prioritise her time:

“Day to day, my job hasn’t changed: I am still empowered to manage the business as I need to. What has changed is the access to central expertise for legal, contracts etc. We didn’t have that central resource before, and it makes complete sense.”

“Because of this my focus has changed a little and I’ve learnt a lot. The business is better for that.”

‘The Board You Could Never Afford’

Ashley is clear that the Modaxo people she has met are the greatest benefit of being part of Modaxo:

“I describe the Modaxo leadership network as ‘the board you could never afford!’ Every business faces similar issues: people, technology, customers and so on. We’re all different but also the same. The way our community shares issues and successes – it’s such a great and powerful thing.”

“There are organisations out there – academies of CEOs – that you can pay to join. But we do it as a community, which is one of the fantastic things you get from being part of Modaxo. All that experience is available – and people are keen to share and help one another.”

The Importance of Coaching

And Ashley has nothing but praise for the Modaxo leadership team which has supported her since the acquisition:

“I have had such great support from my Group Leader. We are similar and we have fun – it’s fun leadership, but it’s clear and directional where needed.”

“Being a CEO can be lonely. Usually when a problem comes to you it is because nobody else can solve it. But at Modaxo there’s always someone to reach out to, whether that’s your leader/coach, or a peer with whom you can bounce around ideas.”

The ‘Secret Sauce’: Modaxo Metrics

Ashley also points to the Modaxo metrics as a major positive:

“The Modaxo business management metrics are so powerful because they make you think about your business in different way. You can identify a problem and work through how to address it – but you also have the Modaxo family to reach out to, to ask how others tackled similar issues.”

“I thought we were doing well before the acquisition, but the metrics challenge established conceptions by lifting the lid on different areas, enabling you to identify improvements that can be made.”

The Future for Imperial

Ashley sees great benefits for her people within Modaxo:

“As an SME, one of your challenges is how to provide growth for your people. The Modaxo approach to talent management is a big plus – and being part of the group creates new opportunities for our people to develop their careers.”

“The business performance is strong, and we have a good platform for growth. We’re very focused on continuing to support the implementation of Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones. Outside of that, we are now looking at acquisitions of our own: there are some solution offerings that would be really beneficial if we could bring them in via an acquisition.”

“I am extremely happy to be part of Modaxo. The entire experience has been very positive, and I feel like I am part of a big family full of fun, supportive people.”

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