Squirrels

Squirrels

An established FMCG operation. Importers, exporters and distributors of food and drink since 1970. Incorporating a large warehouse and distribution facilities including their own vehicles

Planning Phase
I first met JFP in 2008 when we began the Strategic Planning Phase of our relationship. I was slightly sceptical but I soon found myself understanding the value of what JFP bring to the table. We were able to step back from the business and take a clear view of all the issues we had. It was a very powerful exercise which allowed JFP to challenge us logically. Without pressure, we developed a clear Plan on how to move forward with a clear set of Actions, to drive the process and change. JFP also created a 5 year P&L which was a very good reality check on all the ideas that were discussed. Issuing the planning report and leaving it with us for 5 weeks before revisiting to check all the assumptions were sound, was very effective.

It gave us a clear, agreed start line and direction.

Implementation

Process
JFP quickly set up a Board Meeting (BM) process which we followed over the next 10 years. In that time the fixed Agenda changed to suit the circumstances and challenges prevalent at the time. Whilst for most of the period the meetings were monthly they included ad hoc meetings where necessary, but the format remained the same. They were ACTION driven. This consistency ensured that we tackled all the key issues appropriately and in a timely manner and most importantly did not drop the ball. In addition we also set up a Management Meeting and Sales Meeting process.

JFP were involved in the non exec chairman role, which naturally evolved. The big plus is they were able to adjust to meet whatever our requirements were are and are very good at adapting their level of involvement.

They chaired meetings at all levels, as necessary, to ensure of ACTION progress.

Annual reviews
Every year we have held a strategic review, which began with the original plan, evolved into a relatively straight forward annual assessment of what we achieved in the previous year and what we intended to achieve over the next 3 years.

Issues

  1. Lack of management process
  2. Conflict management
  3. Delegation
  4. Senior Management expectations
  5. Excessive Management involvement
  6. Accounting processes
  7. Teamwork and commitment
  8. Recruitment of Senior Management – Management accountant amongst others
  9. Conflict on speed and direction of sales process
  10. Mentoring key staff
  11. Directors rewards
  12. Finding a buyer and managing the process

Outcomes

  1. Implemented a long term management process (Board, management and Sales meetings)
  2. Contained the conflict issues
  3. Improved business communications
  4. Significantly improved the business disciplines
  5. Appointed new management accountant and various sales management positions
  6. Regular Board Meeting process managed in the non exec chairman role
  7. Grew the business by 75% by the time of sale.
  8. Assisted in the sale process with Kitwave

Afternote:
Since sale to Kitwave the business has achieved the sales levels we forecast in our original planning exercise. All good things come to those who wait.

Miscellaneous points
JFP definitely helped the progress of our business and were able to offer clear advice at all times. They have a wealth of experience and contacts. Having them alongside particularly during the Sale process gave us confidence. They gave the business a significantly improved level of discipline which allowed us to grow the business.

The more we worked with JFP the more we realised the strengths and skills they brought to help Squirrels over the years, in particular they had a very high level of tolerance during some difficult periods.

I would strongly recommend them in any non exec role within a business. Their flexibility and ability to adapt their input to the prevailing circumstances is invaluable. They are easy to work with and friendly.