Swallowfield positioned to move on, following job cuts
Swallowfield has confirmed that jobs were axed as part of cost-cutting measures after announcing £800,000 in pre-tax losses, but it remains unclear how many Westcountry staff were hit.
The cosmetics and toiletries manufacturer has been impacted by a loss of orders from two key clients, which saw its business from these sources account for just 24% of its revenues – compared to 47% a year earlier.
Last month, Swallowfield – which posted a 19% revenue fall to £25.5 million in the six months to January 5 – said that it had taken "immediate action" to reduce its cost base, but did not go into greater detail over cuts.
However in response to WMN queries over whether belt-tightening measure included job-cuts at its Wellington manufacturing base or plant in Bideford, outgoing chief executive Ian Mackinnon confirmed: "There have been few instances of redundancies. However, we have managed to keep this to an extremely low number over the past nine months."
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In June last year, Swallowfield had 330 employees based in Wellington, with a further 120 full-time and 50 temporary staff at its Bideford factory.
It said that the roles cut accounted for a "very small percentage" of its workforce.
Mr Mackinnon, who last week announced his resignation after 13 years with the Plc, added: "We have looked at various ways to cut costs throughout the entire manufacturing process. This included a thorough review of all our suppliers and purchasing prices.
"This process has had a positive impact on our external expenditure.
"We also focused on ways to improve efficiencies during production which involved reassigning staff to other roles. As part of the reorganisation we have managed to minimise job losses and are now in a position to move forward as a business, with some promising developments on the horizon."
Swallowfield is currently working on rebalancing its client portfolio away from its former dependence upon its two biggest clients and generate fresh leads from newly-developed product lines.
Mr Mackinnon said: "We have a good pipeline of new product and new customer launches over the next six to 12 months."
Swallowfield is also focused upon growing its direct exports as a proportion of the overall business and support global brands, while reducing its "relative dependency" on the UK consumer. It said that these moves were "beginning to be successful."
The manufacturer which also has bases in Bideford, France, the Czech Republic and China, said that its direct exports had increased by 37% over the past six months.
Mr Mackinnon is due to step down from his post in August, following a scheduled handover period to his successor, who is yet to be announced.