Whilst 2016 saw the business delivering its greatest sales figures to date the first six months were somewhat more challenging with performance tracking below plan. We had to take strategic action; it is easy when times are hard to become too defensive and pull up the drawbridge but in business I have found that at these critical times it is vital to take a proactive stance, so we acted and made a number of key decisions.
Initially we appointed Graham Carlin as General Manager, this recruitment allowed myself and the other directors to have more time to focus on our key skill sets. Graham’s people management skills learnt from his many years of experience within large organisations made him the perfect choice. His first projects were focused on making several improvements to operations, resulting in our warehouse pick rate rising to 99.8%. Graham has had a definite and positive effect on the culture of our company.
Having Graham on board meant I could get out on the road again, I love selling and I firmly believe that customers appreciate seeing a managing director engaging at this level. I think it is what most entrepreneurs love to do, work at the coal face where it all began however as the business gets bigger and more mature this essence that initial drive is sometimes lost as they get absorbed in the detail of running the business.
We have also concentrated on diversification into postal packaging and bespoke packaging and set up our first hub of excellence in Edinburgh, giving us a base in Scotland.
All this positive activity saw sales grow astronomically in the last quarter of the year, with November’s figures 65% up on July.
As we begin 2017 I look forward to an exciting year with many projects that started in their infancy in 2016 coming to life; the new i17 will be launched with over 70 new products as we continue our diversification into postal packaging, including cash and security bags and bespoke printed presentation packaging. We are also planning another three hubs of excellence in London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham (further press releases to be disclosed shortly) so we can extend our expertise across the UK.
None of this would be possible without the amazing team we have at Blake, a group of people who are experts in their field and bring a passion and enthusiasm I could only have dreamt of when I started the business 16 years ago.Posted: 04/01/17 by Blake