In 2013 Sharrocks Fresh Produce Ltd was sold to its major customer. Since then I have been providing advice and consultancy to fresh produce companies on many varied topics including: selling your company, buying a company, business health reviews, head-hunting key staff and I.T. infrastructure.
Freelance Fresh Produce Consultant
Since selling Sharrocks Fresh Produce Ltd to a multiple retailer I have been actively involved in many projects ranging from brokering the sale and purchase of companies to logistics and IT reviews. I have conducted business health checks and acted in a CEO capacity for smaller companies requiring a broader perspective.
Imagine placing an advert in the trade press: ‘For Sale – Your Company’. Before you know it your customers have left in droves and your competitors have had a field day! That’s where I can help. With my extensive knowledge of companies within the fresh produce industry I can suggest potential buyers who might be interested and approach them on your behalf. This can be as discreet and as anonymous as you require.
Whether you’re looking to expand or simply replace staff, sometimes the best man/woman for the job is working for the opposition. You’d like to approach him/her but don’t know if this will spark intercompany war.
This is where I can help. I can approach key staff from an anonymous standpoint and ascertain any interest before the big reveal. Failing that, if you don’t have the time or confidence in your own staff to find the right person I can undertake that on your behalf, producing a shortlist of people for you to select or trust in my decision. No finder’s fee, no ongoing percentage payments, you simply pay for my time with no surprises.
There’s an old expression that says ‘sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees.’ Nowhere is this more relevant than when you run your own business. Most of us are traditionally hands-on with an open-door policy and this has many advantages in understanding customer and staff needs. But it also means a great deal of your day is firefighting and doesn’t allow time for some strategic thinking.
This could include automation, acquisitions, management structure, and staff time management right through to any possible exit strategy. I have completed reviews for many companies and it involves me on site for a day or two watching what happens and talking to a few key staff. You simply pay for my time and I produce a multipage document with comments and observations from an external point of view. Everything remains totally confidential at every stage.
I.T. should exist to make life easier for you. It should provide you with dashboard information to help you steer the ship and it should enable the shop floor to function with the utmost efficiency. It should ensure you only pay for what you receive and invoice everything you dispatch. It should be robust with support available when you need it most (which is usually in the middle of the night!).
It should also allow efficient communication between you and your staff and with your customers and suppliers. I have a great deal of experience in systems geared towards the fresh produce environment. I have undertaken project system installations in several companies from statement of user requirements right through to implementation. This also includes social media and online ordering. I’d be more than willing to visit your site to review your current systems and suggest improvements where appropriate.
Does your brand cut the mustard? A large amount of fresh produce companies are traditional family businesses and lack good branding. Strong branding displays professionalism and commitment. Many of your customers will only see your fleet and drivers – are they presenting the right image? I have worked with several design agencies over the years who have built up an understanding of the fresh produce trade.
This can include logo design right through to fleet, stationery and websites. So often branding can become disjointed with lots of folk doing their own thing within the company. This is where strong brand guidelines help. The companies I work with understand our industry and keep costs realistic. If you think you could benefit from a brand refresh just give me a call and I can give you some idea of likely costs.