“You can see the actual day when we started doing as Aidan told us” - owner/manager


Collingwood develops operational and commercial processes and skills that result in step changes in profitability and size.

Develop and implement operational, commercial and corporate processes that optimise both throughput through a factory or distribution channel and optimise commercial relations with both customers and suppliers. In addition to develop and train an organisation that is both lean, and can implement the operational and commercial processes adopted.

  • Improve factory or distribution channel productivity by developing and implementing improved planning and tracking processes
  • Develop and implement processes to reduce material waste and increase resource utilisation
  • Developing mutually beneficial commercial relations with suppliers so that both sides benefit

  • Optimise conflicting corporate goals e.g. utilisation and margin

  • Improve revenue quality by
    • Being paid for what we do
    • Replacing poor revenue quality work with better
    • Renegotiating low margin work

  • Developing clear organisational structures so that jobs have clear responsibilities and are measured with key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Assess capabilities and train or replace if necessary

Example projects

The firm was a £24m turnover point of sale printer working for major brands and retailers. It operates at the high end of the market and provides creative input into the brand development efforts of its clients. After two years at break even 2014 resulted in a pre tax profit of close to £1m due to an upgrade in commercial strategy. The company is now set to grow and has taken on new equipment.
Figures in £'k
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Sales 22,372 23,044 23,905 24,195 22,278
Pre Tax on Ord. 773 382 34 26 869
% 3.5% 1.7% 0.1% 0.1% 3.9%
Bank debt/loan/HP 3,218 3,207 2,328 2,416 915
Notional value 1,420 -915 -2,124 -2,260 4,299

Precision Engineers
The client was a £6.5m turnover high quality precision tool manufacturer with a worldwide reputation. A maturing market had resulted in declining gross margin and a £472k loss. Changes in manufacturing strategy and reduced waste, moved the client to £625k profit. The company was sold to Latour Group.
Figures in £'k
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
Sales 6,225 6,736 5,706 6,621 7,342 7,099
Pre Tax on Ord. -61 -472 -215 119 558 625
% -1.0% -7.0% -3.8% 1.8% 7.6% 8.8%
Bank debt/loan/HP 297 861 -307 -122 -810 -1190
Notional value -785 -4,637 -1,413 -1,074 5,274 6,190

International Software Group
The company was an international software group and was one of the first to develop print management software. The firm had started off as a hardware firm and the task was to morph the company from being a typical hardware firm to becoming a leading edge software firm. When I joined the organisational problems had moved the company into heavy losses, but within six months the firm was generating cash. With international expansion and a possible float in mind; I raised £4m PE funding. Ultimately the firm grew to £10m t/o and was sold to Bottomline Technologies.

Post Production Hardware/Software Firm
The firm was a start up run by three engineers who developed an innovative postproduction product with worldwide appeal. There ensued a period of rapid growth, and the firm needed processes and structure both to sustain exceptional growth and also to attract international attention from likely purchasers. The firm developed the necessary routines and structure and was sold to Miranda Technologies.

Capital Goods Manufacturer
The firm was an MBO and had grown from £3m to £8m t/o over eight years. It manufactured and serviced capital goods. Profit performance had remained at break even throughout. Due to organisational changes, standardisation of the product range, and more effective planning, the firm moved to over £250k pre tax profit before growing to £30m t/o and being sold to KONE.
Figures in £'k
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Sales 7,203 8,200 9,188 12,470
Pre Tax on Ord. 118 151 158 252
% 1.6% 1.8% 1.7% 2.0%
Bank debt/loan/HP 624 785 906 582
Notional value 84 121 42 930

Hospitality Systems Developer
The company was one of the first to enter the hospitality systems market and had grown from zero to £15m turnover in eleven years. Notwithstanding a full order book the firm never shipped over £15m in a year. Collingwood implemented Just in Time manufacturing and thereby increased volumes to £20m t/o with no increase in resources. The Company was sold to Micro Systems.
Figures in £'k
Year 1 Year 2
Sales 12,407 19,517
Pre Tax on ord. 2,448 3,645

UK Subsidiary of Worldwide Electronics Group
The client was a £6m t/o electronic components manufacturer and part of a 34-company international group. The company had made losses and had failed to generate the necessary throughput during its seven year life. By implementing Just in Time manufacturing, re-organising the shop floor and logistics functions the firm increased turnover to £15m (£29m the year after my leaving) and moved into profit.
Figures in £'k
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Sales 5,935 15,217 29,110

PC Manufacturer
The client had grown from zero to £55m t/o in six years. Keen to sell and move on after this period of exceptional growth, the client required to increase profitability, accelerate growth and adopt more “corporate” procedures to secure best value from a business sale. Within two years the company grew to £106m t/o, pre tax profit from 6% to over 10% of revenue and was sold to Amstrad.
Figures in £'k
Year 1 Year 2
12 months 12 months
Sales 54,828 105,952
Pre Tax on Ord. 3,071 11,008
% 5.6% 10.4%
Debt -4,885 -14,840
Notional value 23,311 80,888

European Subsidiary of Worldwide OEM
One of the world’s largest computer components manufacturers had seen growth stall due to its European operation. During a two-year assignment as EMEA director, margins and customer service levels improved so that European profitability increased and EMEA grew from $130m t/o to $240m t/o in two years. The business was promptly sold.

International Distribution Group
The chemical giants and customers of this NVOCC had adopted global production strategies but the Company’s logistics systems were incapable of handling the increased volume and scope. The development and implementation of new logistics procedures and an upgrade of its commercial strategy helped the company resume growth ($8m to $24m in three years) and move from over $1m pa loss to $650k profit.

Where possible, and in most cases, Collingwood quotes public, verifiable information about the performance of its projects. We quote sales and pre tax profit figures from statutory accounts, and record when Collingwood joined and when Collingwood left. So no hearsay, no opinion, no “on the other hand”: facts, numbers you can trust.

Contact Collingwood Management at a.condie@collingwoodmanagement.co.uk
or call 07710 376746