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Robot manufacturer Clansman's turnover soars 60% since employee buyout
Clansman Dynamics, a global leader in the design and manufacture of robotic handling equipment, will this week announce that turnover has soared by more than 60% - from £7m to £11m – in the two years since the company became employee-owned. Founded by Dick Philbrick and 2 colleagues in 1994 and based in East Kilbride, Clansman produces highly sophisticated material handling solutions for forges, foundries, aluminium smelters, waste processing and manufacturing.
The client list includes many leading vehicle manufacturers, such as Volvo, Fiat and Kamaz (Russia’s largest truck manufacturing business). Clansman exports over 90% of production – China currently accounts for 30% of sales – with Russia and India increasingly important markets. Clansman currently employs 38 staff – an increase of 5 since the employee buyout, and the company is recruiting for additional mechanical engineers.
Clansman is differentiated from its competitors by maintaining a full design team, both to support existing customers with product developments and to maintain the flow of new products. Highly motivated engineers do ‘whatever it takes,’ to get these new machines to work and on time. For example, a first, monster size, 5 tonnes capacity robot was delivered to a foundry near St Petersburg in March of last year and a unique, small, but hugely powerful grinding manipulator was exhibited at the 4 yearly international foundry exhibition in Germany in June with orders resulting in Turkey and USA. Employee ownership keeps the teams focussed on these difficult tasks.
The business became employee-owned in late December 2009, realising a long-term ambition by Dick Philbrick to ensure the company had a sustainable and long term future under employee-ownership and in Scotland. Co-operative Development Scotland and Baxi Partnership subsequently helped create a funding package to buy the business, including a tax-efficient employee benefits trust, and advised on the transition to employee ownership. Scottish Enterprise has also been working intensively with Clansman Dynamics, offering a tailored and integrated package of business support to help the company achieve its growth ambitions.
This Thursday (23rd Feb), at a special event to celebrate the International Year of Co-operatives, Clansman Dynamics will share the story behind its success since the company became employee-owned, and its strategy for further expansion.
Dick Philbrick, who remains as Chairman, believes that the outstanding performance of the company illustrates that employee ownership offers a better way of organising a business: “The business has really blossomed, and the employees have taken the company well beyond the growth ambitions forecast when we completed the deal. Productivity, profitability and innovation have all flourished, but importantly, the employees have prospered and that is the key reason for the success of the business. Employee ownership can be the defining factor in driving growth and securing the future of a company that is facing a succession issue. I hope many more business owners will be encouraged by our example to explore this business model.”
Sarah Deas, Chief Executive of CDS, added: “We are delighted that Clansman has performed so strongly and its success illustrates the opportunity that employee ownership can provide to many other businesses looking for a sustainable future. A few years ago there was a risk that Clansman would be acquired by an overseas business and lost to Scotland. The drive and determination of the management team prevented that loss, and Scotland now has an outstanding specialist manufacturing business that is doing really well because it is employee-owned. We wish them every success for the future.”
Commenting on the support that Scottish Enterprise has contributed, account manager, Gavin Hanna, added: “Since 2005, we have provided integrated, tailored business growth support to Clansman, working intensively with the company through our account management approach. We have supported the company undertake research and development, helped it to enter new overseas markets, provided specific manufacturing assistance through our Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and supported its transition to employee ownership. During this time, we have seen this highly innovative company grow and we’ll continue to support them to achieve their ambitions. ”
2012 has been recognised as the International Year of Co-operatives by the United Nations in order to acknowledge the role of co-operatives as drivers of economic development and job creation, and the value they bring to local communities as creators of sustainable, resilient employment.
IYC 2012 aims to:
- Increase public awareness about co-operatives and their contributions to socio-economic development
- Promote the formation and growth of co-operatives
- Encourage Governments to establish policies, laws and regulations conducive to the formation, growth and stability of co-operatives
To showcase the value of co-operative business models as drivers of economic growth, Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is delivering a programme of activity in Scotland. This will include visits to employee owned and consortia businesses, a flagship event hosted by the First Minister and various seminars and activities to encourage interest in the value of co-operative business models as effective structures for modern businesses.
More widely, the co-operative movement is working together to deliver a co-ordinated programme of activity to showcase the vibrancy of the co-operative movement. The Scotland campaign includes an event in the Scottish Parliament sponsored by the Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and a 3 day celebratory event at New Lanark.