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Turnover turnaround for Cheshire manufacturer
by Kevin Cook

A North West manufacturer of arts and crafts items for the education sector, has achieved a 28 percent increase in turnover and is in line to break the £5 million barrier.

Scolaquip, based in Middlewich, has a long history dating back to 1920. In 2016 the business was seeing static turnover and diminishing profitability. Managing director, Jane Reynard, invited in help to overhaul the company’s business strategy and now she and her workforce are celebrating success as turnover is now soaring.

Scolaquip manufactures and supplies the biggest range of paints, crayons, modeling materials and adhesives in the UK. As well as its own famous brand, Scola, the company also distributes other well-known brands like Berol and Crayola. Despite its success over many decades, the company was in bad shape in 2016 with a disillusioned management and negative atmosphere.

The management team realised they needed some fresh thinking and Reynard sought advice from Cheshire-based business support experts Business Doctors.

Jane explains, “Business Doctors carried out a ‘business health check’. They helped us concentrate on our strengths and identify opportunities for improvement and expansion.

“After 18 months of pain and hard work, turnover has grown by 28 percent. In that time our cash flow stresses have eased, we have opened to new export markets and hired new staff.

“Most importantly, we have been able to invest in new manufacturing equipment and that has been instrumental in us achieving such improved turnover.

“The workforce has regained its mojo and everyone is encouraged to think outside the box and voice their ideas for improvement. I can only describe the help we have had as the ‘cattle-prod effect’ – painful but effective!”

Kevin Cook of SME specialist consulting firm Business Doctors, who advised the company, praised Scolaquip’s management team for its resolve and passion, “The success of Scolaquip today is testament to the team’s determination to not only improve the business but to turn both its profitability and culture around and make it a thriving place to work. New jobs have been created and investment made in new manufacturing equipment. The company has even expanded into new markets. It’s a great success story for North West business.”

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