Finning (UK)

The integration of two, large regional businesses for a multinational Canadian group.

Finning International Inc, is the world’s largest distributor of Caterpillar civil engineering plant. Based in Vancouver, it employs 11,000 people.

Our work for Finning (UK) started after a recommendation from a non-executive director. Initially, we reviewed the plans for reorganising the regional service infrastructure. We worked with managers to define the new service operation, to specify the processes and organisation, and then to put them into effect. We then examined the systems for supplying spare parts and reviewed the options for a new, centrally-located warehouse.

The company acquired Lex Harvey, a distributor of a wide range of industrial equipment. It had 960 employees and 17 depots throughout the UK. The challenge was to integrate this business fully into the structure of Finning (UK) and to make savings for shareholders of around £8 million in two years. We provided a full-time integration director to take charge of the operation and realise the projected benefits. Work on merging the sales forces, centralising control, rationalising sites and introducing new systems was achieved ahead of schedule. This allowed the managers to accelerate the rate of change. The combined business has a rental fleet of 16,000 machines, 1,300 employees and revenues of c£150 million.

A Scottish-based distributor, Hewden, had been acquired earlier. We compared the performance of the two firms. This confirmed opportunities to improve profit, primarily by integrating ‘back offices’ and sharing resources. We gained the commitment of the senior managers to consolidating the core functions of the businesses and achieving multi-million pound savings.

Our work at Finning has drawn on our varied and long-standing experience of the construction sector and multi-site businesses. We have been able to demonstrate an ability to project manage complex assignments, keep senior executives fully informed and to give local managers ‘hands on’ support at critical times.

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