It’s a family business in the truest sense. The CEO, Robert Wells, is both the son of the original founder, Robert ‘Bob’ Wells, and the father of our lead partner onsite – whose name is (you guessed it) Robert Wells. SH Pratt has roughly 300 employees and supplies bananas to some of the UK’s biggest retail chains. Their working relationship with Tesco, for example, has lasted over 30 years.
The challenge: boosting profits after a long period of growth
Fruit importers work on tight margins. Economic conditions were steadily increasing SH Pratt’s overheads and cutting into their profits. Having enjoyed significant long-term growth, they knew there would be operational efficiencies to find – and they saw this as the best way to continue their success and grow their bottom line.
SH Pratt’s leadership understood that getting a fresh perspective from outside experts would be the best way to increase efficiency. But this was a long-standing family business, with many long-serving experts running its operations. So winning hearts and minds would be the first challenge.
The approach: getting everyone onboard and maximising output
We embedded ourselves within the SH Pratt team and engaged at all levels of the business. This involved plenty of hours on the shop floor, speaking to all the people who knew the nuances of day-to-day operations in the most detail.
After mapping out the company’s operations in full, we implemented numerous changes to boost efficiency. Over a nine-month project we:
The result: cost reductions that dwarfed the consultancy fees
We were able to make significant reductions in cost in the two main areas of expense in the business, so what did this mean for SH Pratt? Overall, the project delivered savings in excess of three times the fee. And the project was cash positive within five months of starting, i.e. there was a net PnL benefit in year one. We also co-designed a plan for SH Pratt to deliver further savings that will amount to four times the fee.