Diamond Engineering is a family run business, which was established by two brothers in 1979.
The company is based in Saffron Walden, near Cambridge UK, and has two primary business activities, which are;
a) Manufacturing and servicing a range of world class vaccination devices that help protect poultry and livestock from contagious viral diseases.
b) Supporting a number of product based companies with their precision assemblies and components. The company has a broad array of capabilities to complement its precision engineering roots, from concept design and material selection through to assembly, test and servicing (i.e. full product life cycle support).
The company had historically always made a profit and in 2015 had grown to £1.6m. However, life was becoming tougher and it was difficult to grow the business further.
The senior people in the business were working excessive hours just to stand still. It transpired later that the business had made a double digit percentage loss in 2015. The factory had two sites, 100m apart, populated with a range of predominantly old machinery (i.e. milling, turning and drilling) and an aging workforce.
Furthermore, the factories looked tired and were far from tidy and clean. The challenge for the company was how to differentiate itself from other machining companies with similar facilities. Fortunately, the MD and the Head of Sales & Marketing had recognised the need for change.
The business decided to undergo a facilitated strategic review and then received support through the process of implementing the agreed changes.
The strategic review identified the differentiating competences were design, “Can do” culture and Chinese language skills. The core competence weaknesses were writing value propositions, internal communications, continuous improvement, the depth of “design for manufacture” capability and KPIs. At this point, the turnover was dominated by customers that did not value the core competences of the business.
During the eighteen months following the strategic review, Diamond focused on the following opportunities.
Introduced 5S, continuous improvement and a KPI; Improved communications
Developed differentiating value propositions; Acquired new customers that valued the company’s full offering; Removed the dependency on low added value customers
The key outcomes from strategic mentoring have been as follows.
Back into the Black
Although the company only grew its turnover marginally in 2016, it is back into the black with sound profitability.
The business has formed a number of new, strong and sustainable customer partnerships.
The senior team now have time to work on the business and are doing so.