Bradford logistics company set to expand further but Baildon products supplier sees sales decrease

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mike Danby, of Advance Supply Chain, in the firm’s depot Mike Danby, of Advance Supply Chain, in the firm’s depot

Two local firms have revealed contrasting results for 2013 – one achieving its 17th consecutive year of growth, the other cutting jobs and slumping into losses.

Fast-growing logistics firm Advanced Supply Chain – named as one of Britain’s 1,000 most inspiring companies by the London Stock Exchange – had another record year with turnover rising by 18.9 per cent and an operating profit of £1.56 million.

In contrast, workplace products company H C Slingsby saw sales fall and suffered a pre-tax loss of £249,000, against a £102,000 profit in 2012.

Advanced Supply Chain, based at the Euroway trading estate, grew revenues from £36.5m to £43.4m after a string of new business wins. It invested £5m in a fleet of delivery vehicles to fulfil contracts for retail clients including Matalan, Makro and Go Outdoors.

ASC created 85 jobs and now employs more than 600 staff at distribution centres in Bradford, Birstall and Corby, Northamptonshire, with plans to create more jobs this year.

Mike Danby, chief executive, said: “We have been able to grow the company every year since 1997, and that has been down to our focus on strong business values, empowering our people and investing in the business.

“Despite difficult economic conditions we needed to ensure we could out-compete other companies and invested heavily in our IT systems and fleet. This helped to reduce delivery times and integrate with other systems, but it’s really testament to our team that we’ve managed to achieve the success we have in recent years.”

Baildon-based Slingsby cut a fifth of its staff, including a layer of management, and closed its manufacturing unit. Products designed in-house have been outsourced to UK suppliers. Operations in Ireland and Northern Ireland have also been rationalised.

Sales fell to £14m from £14.6m in 2012 and in the first three months of this year were 11 per cent below the same period of 2013, with margins under pressure due to price cuts by competitors.

Chairman John Waterhouse said restructuring costs of £180,000 had been incurred in the current year.

He said: “The full benefit of our cost reductions will not take effect until June and will result in reduced monthly overhead costs which, even on the current depressed level of sales, would improve the company’s monthly operating performance going forward in the second half of 2014. The board believes this will provide a secure platform for recovery as our initiatives to increase sales take effect.”

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