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About | Oxford Holt & Co.

tel: +44 1274 879232

Brier Hill Close, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, BD19 6ND.

© 2019 Oxford Holt & Co. Ltd.
Business improvement consultancy

Approach

The consultancy process

People approach us for many reasons, but the main ones are:

  1. They wish to improve profitability or efficiency within some part (or all) of the business.

  2. They are experiencing a current difficulty that is impacting upon the performance of the company.

  3. The people have simply run out of ideas and require a fresh and objective perspective.

 

The business either does not employ someone with the correct skillset and experience to help - or staff have become too close to the issues and an impartial and independent view can provide a catalyst to facilitate progress.  

Initial meetings to scope the potential project and obtain sufficient information to determine the implications are free of charge and without obligation.  Following the meeting, a consultancy proposal (terms of reference) for the project can be drawn up.  A proposal or more concise letter of engagement for the programme of work, is always agreed prior to the start of an assignment and this forms the basis of a contact between the parties.  A typical proposal covers:

 

  • The background and general reasons for undertaking the project.

  • Overall objectives and justification for requiring consultancy support.

  • A detailed plan of action containing the relevant stages of the project and any scheduled meetings.

  • Fees, and whether or not expenses are included.  Also a schedule of expenses if chargeable.

  • The number of days that the fee relates to, plus an approximate time-scale and a start/finish date.

  • Predicted deliverables and benefits arising as a result of the project.

The comprehensive terms of reference including fees and anticipated savings mean that projects can reliably be assessed for pay-back before there is any commitment to proceed.  This transparent approach answers many of the questions and reservations associated with using external consultants.  It lets the client know exactly what to expect - and crucially what the fees/deliverables are before proceeding with the project.

Typical results

Virtually every project is aimed at improving some aspect of the business and the benefits are generally what separates high-performing consultancy companies from the rest.  As a guide, the deliverables from more than 500 projects over 30+ years have resulted in savings of 10 times the fees - meaning that most projects become cost neutral within just a few weeks.  

Quite often, the result of having "fresh eyes and a clean slate" can have a much greater impact and several projects have paid for themselves on the first day.

 

Grant funding

 

For a number of years now, there has been funding available for consultancy projects and this comes from Government or EU backed institutions.  As ever, there are a number of constraints, but the vast majority of this (Tax Payers) money is directed at SME's, defined as:​

  • Employing fewer than 250 staff.

  • Having a sales turnover less than €50 million.

  • OR - A balance sheet total less than €43 million.

  • Not owned by a larger organisation/group who as a whole exceed the above criteria.

The manufacturing sector is often the recipient of targeted funding and a manufacturing company is defined as:

 

  • A business that engages in any economic activity directly related to a product or production process they have researched, designed or produced, or otherwise hold core intellectual property in.

The other main requirement for funding is usually that the business is aiming to grow and able to demonstrate the intention to grow/improve
(through creation of increased turnover, increased jobs and/or introduction of new products/services/processes).  This is normally easy to prove and requires a comparison between last years figures and those predicted for next year.

 

Most Local Authorities maintain a list of the grants and funding opportunities available in their area.  Things change regularly in terms of availability and types of grant, so this is a good place start.