“What’s great about the Fortus team is they explain solutions and give examples of how other customers have dealt with similar problems" Jason King, JRM GroupFind out more
When you’re behind the wheel of a large engineering group, you can’t drive business success without the help of the right partners – be that your suppliers, staff or external advisors.
JRM Group began life as a small, team of engineers specialising in building custom race cars. The team quickly became known for their innovation and quality craftsmanship, but it was clear the business was being held back, says JRM Group Managing Director, Jason King.
The first step he took was to move the business to a more strategic site near Silverstone. Here it focused on motorsport, advanced engineering and bespoke conversions for Toyota, Nissan and Isuzu.
The second move was to acquire the UK operations of a component manufacturer, Pankl UK. The purchase has played a big part in helping the group to diversify and grow its turnover to £7.5 million over the past year.
Fortus has been there to support the company during this vital stage in its development. “Having Fortus on board during the acquisition has given me confidence to make these decisions,” says Jason. “They identified that Pankl was looking to pull out of the UK and, because we’d been looking to expand into manufacturing, it was the right acquisition, at the right time. They then helped us secure the right deal.”
And as the acquisition came with a large order book, it doubled the size of the business overnight. Within 12 months, it had increased the order book by about £1 million.
Engineering business growth
Building links with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has also proved to be a successful growth strategy. OEMs find it challenging to deliver one-off projects because of their systems and processes. By contrast, JRM’s background in building bespoke racing cars means it’s ideally suited to overcoming technical challenges, quickly and on budget.
Fortus has also helped Jason maximise on this innovative streak, identifying that it qualified for R&D Tax Relief. “They ask all the right questions and make it all so simple,” he explains.
“I know I can ask the Fortus team anything and, if they don’t know the answer, they can find someone who does.” Indeed, there are times, he says, when he feels almost smug about having business advisors of such calibre on his side. “Sometimes I’m sitting across the table from Mark Standish from Fortus and thinking, ‘this man really knows what he’s talking about’. He’s like an encyclopaedia of business,” he says.
Suppliers are a vital support
The next stage is to consolidate the business. “Moving to one site means we’ll be more efficient and less costly,” Jason says. “But we won’t take on just anything. We’ll continue to focus on what we do best.”
That means building and maintaining relationships with suppliers which specialise in areas JRM doesn’t. “We don’t say we’ll do something and then find a way to do it. Instead, we stick to what we do well, and find expert partners to do the rest.”
Managing processes & cashflow
As it’s grown, processes have become more important. It’s now upgraded how it captures and acts upon its management information. Keeping on top of cashflow has been vital, it’s not about having millions in the bank. It’s about carefully managing the cash you do have.
“What’s great about working with Fortus is that they understand what we do. They’ve been able to explain solutions and give examples of how other customers have dealt with similar problems,” Jason explains.
Fortus has also provided valuable HR support. Finding the right Financial Director was difficult. Jason admits he needs someone with confidence and experience to challenge his decision making. Fortus carried out the initial search, then brought three high quality candidates for interview. They also conducted personal profiles on both Jason and the candidates, so they could find someone who was a good fit.
“It’s been such a personal service,” Jason adds. “It was a much less onerous experience that I’ve had with other HR consultants in the past and the result is that we have a fantastic new Financial Director, Salik Zahoor. When he brings me a problem, he’s already worked out the solution – he’s worth his weight in gold.”
The value of good service
At the end of the day, Fortus advisors stand out because they act as if they’re part of JRM – nothing seems to be too much to ask.
“They feel more like a business partner. They take the time to get to know you and your business, and because they work with all kinds of companies, you benefit from their expertise. Now, if I have an idea, the first thing I do is pick up the phone and talk to Fortus about it.”
It’s been an interesting journey, working with JRM Group. We’ve been able to play an important role in supporting the team through a major period of change, from reviewing its structure and processes, to making sure it has the right people – all vital for the future stability and success of the group as it grows. We’ve even identified how it can benefit from R&D Tax Relief.
One success has been the acquisition of Pankl UK. Jason and his team wanted to move into manufacturing, and we were able to not only find the right business, but negotiate the right deal. The result is that the group doubled in size overnight, and it has a healthy order book that continues to drive growth.
But 2020 brings more opportunities. Jason is a proactive and commercially astute businessman and because the group now has timely and accurate management information, he can make big decisions with confidence. I can’t wait to see what heights JRM races on to next.
“If I have an idea, the first thing I do is pick up the phone and talk to Fortus about it"
Jason King JRM Group