Case study: Country Products
North Yorkshire dried food business creates new jobs and embraces sustainability after Strategic Growth Programme support.
Country Products was incorporated in 2003 to package and distribute dried food for retail. The Business has always been conscious to recycle wherever possible and they have a reputation for ethically sourced products.
As a rapidly growing business, there are multiple improvement opportunities available for the business. To maximise their business growth potential, John Taylor sought help from the Strategic Growth Programme which is available exclusively to high-growth SME businesses in the Leeds City Region.
The business is aware of three challenges; long term succession planning, and the need to train a next generation of management, and the increase in public demand for sustainable packaging solutions and a need to boost brand awareness.
To analyse the current position of the business, Strategic Growth Manager; Nick Palmer, conducted a GROWTHmapper® analysis with Country Products. The use of GROWTHmapper® is an added benefit of accessing the package of SGP support, it is a market leading business diagnostic tool.
Based on the GROWTHmapper® report, an action plan was put in place with the support of Nick Palmer. The Programme also provided Country Products with a fully funded 8 day consultancy project delivered by Paul Cook of Lean Culture Developments.
Nick commented on his time with the high-growth business; “Country Products is a great business to support. They are rightly proud of how their team has helped the business grow through COVID-19, and that their recent pay settlement puts them in the top 8% of payrates in the industry and region.”
John Taylor commented “At the start of the pandemic Country Products lost a significant amount of committed revenue overnight. The factor causing this was the closure of hospitality, offices and food service. By repositioning the business and moving the focus to store cupboard, home baking and contract packing, the business has been able to offset this loss in revenue by focusing on other opportunities.”
Since their first engagement with SGP, the business has employed 4 new staff with more jobs expected to be created over the summer. The entire workforce has been encouraged to adopt the LEAN mentality.
Country Products has utilised the apprenticeship scheme in order to develop and promote from within. Their investments in new plant and equipment have enabled the packing of products into more sustainable packaging. The rewarding of all staff through pay increases and incentives have happened for staff to share in the success of the business.
Further development is planned as part of the strategy and securing additional contract packaging orders. The use of promotional opportunities is underway, with endorsement from Delia Smith and Skye McAlpine, it is hoped retailer interest will be heightened.
John commented further; “I would highly recommend any company looking to grow, to explore the opportunities that the programme offers. With the abundance of specialist advice in many business areas and access to funding and grants enabling companies to achieve their growth plans, it should be a must for any business owner wishing to grow.”
More details on Country Products can be found at www.countryproducts.co.uk.
The Strategic Growth Programme is designed and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice on behalf of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal - a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across the Leeds City Region.