Swadlincote company signals success

Nov 3, 2005

A Swadlincote company is proving a beacon of success thanks to a management buy out and a business review carried out by Business Link Derbyshire.

Established in 1967, beacon and sounder company D. G. Controls Ltd, was bought out in June 2003 by Jon and Wendy Whiten and now employs 15 people.

It designs and manufactures all its products in-house which means it can specialise in customer-specific requirements as well as a vast range of well-established beacons and sounders. It supplies directly to UK markets and exports all over the world via dedicated distributors.

With Jon’s long involvement with the company, from the grass roots up, and Wendy’s extensive blue-chip experience in manufacturing management and product design, a strong management team has been established.

A free benchmarking exercise carried out with the help of Business Link Adviser Peter McBride meant that Wendy and Jon could learn from other organisations and improve the performance of their business still further.

And the results have been really impressive – as focusing on what really influences top and bottom line has brought financial benefits, and a 27% increase in UK sales.

“The benefits have been more than just financial,” said Wendy, “as it has been useful to bounce ideas off somebody else.” 

“One of the greatest difficulties in running a business, and particularly a SME, is having the opportunity to step out of the business and look at the bigger picture.  Working with a Business Link Adviser forced us to do this, and we discussed and challenged all areas, from marketing strategy to export to training to manufacturing methods to pricing structure.

“We had an action plan at the end of the sessions and a follow up review from our Adviser will ensure that time taken away from the business bears fruit and doesn’t become a ‘collecting dust in the drawer’ exercise.

“It’s amazing that all this support was available free of charge,”; added Wendy.

Business Link opened doors to other help at the Manufacturing and Advisory Service (MAS) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). Jon also received funding from the Lead2Succeed management development programme to undertake CIMA qualifications.