A yacht paint company with a turnover of £30m had closed all but two of its nine manufacturing plants in Europe.
The plant closures were made in the autumn, a period of low demand in this highly seasonal business.
When demand increased in the spring it became apparent that the business could not cope. It was delivering about 50%
of orders on time in full, against the expectation and industry norm of 95%.
Unless the situation was rectified, the business would be under serious threat!
A Market leading Lubricants company had been recently taken over by a large Oil and Gas company and as a result,
the product range in Europe was overly complex. In addition, many of the country businesses had not had good
processes in place and were holding a large amount of redundant stock. A redundant stock write off of $5 M had
been included as part of the acquisition costs.
Rationalising the product range was a necessity if the economies of scale and improved cash-flow targeted were to
be realised in operations and marketing. The challenge covered 15 countries, 2 Business Units and 20,000
A large automotive company ran a warehouse to supply marketing collateral (brochures, giveaways, samples,
merchandising kits etc) to the UK market.
The operation was run with employed staff who were a happy team.
Strategically, however, the rationale for continuing the operation was getting weaker. Suppliers of merchandising
and sales collateral were able to deliver cost effectively direct to customers and marketing collateral was
increasingly delivered online via the company’s web-site and email.
The company needed a solution that would continue to be be cost effective as demand decreased
The UK business of the market leading supplier of lubricants was, on the face of it, making reasonable returns but
instinctively I felt they could do much better. Over the years a laudable culture of customer service meant that sales
teams, eager to please customers, often agreed to requests that lost money. Consequently, the business was
characterised by too many products with small sales, too many customers with small sales and too many small
unprofitable transactions. In short the business was too complex and under-performing.
I was asked to analyse the shape of the business and implement changes to improve profitability