Simon Carpmael may have only recently come onboard as MD of Pershore-headquartered Sprint Group, but he inherits a kitchen design house in good health. For the year ending 30 April 2019, the distributor accrued £13.4m turnover. While the number was down nearly 16% from the 2017-18 financial year’s total of £15.9m, that was due to undertaking a number of capital projects which represented a significant investment in the company’s future. Operating profit also slid 39%, from just under £1m to just under £0.6m in the 2019 figures.
So what does it take to ensure the company is successful? According to Carpmael: “First and foremost you need a great team. We have some of the most talented kitchen, bar and servery counter designers in the industry – whose knowledge and experience has been gained by working with thousands of different clients over many years. It’s this collaborative, professional approach and attention to detail that we believe separates us from our competition.”
When asked how he believes Sprint has fared compared to competitors, Carpmael responded: “These are difficult times – we know some of our competitors won’t survive and we’re starting to see some evidence of that already. But we think Sprint Group has fared well – we’re a successful, profitable business and we’ve done all of the things that you would expect – we’ve kept a close eye on managing cash, we’ve nurtured key customer relationships and we’ve innovated. We have long-standing loyal customers and so we have worked with them during this period – finding ways to help them reopen as and when the time is right. What’s really pleasing is that we’ve continued to have new project enquiries – that’s a very positive sign for the future.”
And in terms of how Sprint has handled the coronavirus crisis, he reported: “Our over-riding priority has been for the welfare and safety of our employees and customers. We’ve followed all of the government guidelines – furloughing a number of our staff and quickly putting in place a plan that allowed a skeleton team to work from home. Our engineers have all been supplied with the relevant PPE for as and when they respond to emergency calls.”
Looking ahead, Carpmael analysed: “We’ve just started our financial year and there’s no doubt it will be different to the previous one. Prior to Covid-19 our business performance remained strong – turnover was growing. We know turnover will be lower this year and that it is likely to come from different sectors and product groups.
“It’s going to be a bumpy ride and we’ll encounter some twists and turns along the way – but we’ve spent our time in lockdown modelling all of the various scenarios and we’re in a good place. We have a plan that will deliver profit in ’20/21 and we’re looking forward to it being another strong year for Sprint Group.”
According to Sprint MD, Simon Carpmael, the industry should: “Stay strong, look for the positives and treat people fairly! This is a challenging time for everyone but we will get through this and our staff, customers and suppliers will remember how we, as individuals and companies, have worked with them during this period. Communication is key and helps all parties plan for the future – even when some of the messages might not be what they want to hear. I strongly believe that if you can satisfy yourself that you ‘have done the right thing’ you won’t go far wrong.”