Polestar Group

More than £20 million savings in operating costs.

Collinson Grant led projects on restructuring and reducing costs in the UK, and improving the performance of manufacturing plants in Spain and Hungary.

Created in 1998 by Investcorp, the Polestar Group was the leading independent printing business in Europe. More than twenty operating plants throughout the United Kingdom, Hungary and Spain used the latest technologies to print and finish high-quality colour magazines, newspaper supplements and catalogues, and to provide specialist direct marketing services. With annual sales of over £0.5 billion and more than 5,000 employees, Polestar serves highly competitive European markets, consistently delivering to the tightest deadlines.

Following a review of the terms and conditions of employment, we worked with the management teams throughout the UK to gain commitment to a programme of cost reduction that saved over £20 million a year. We worked with managers:

  • to determine the optimum organisation for operations
  • to agree on changes to working practices following the adoption of new technologies
  • to review the organisation and staffing of Group services
  • to plan and implement short-term savings
  • to design revised financial incentives
  • to put in place robust reporting arrangements that secured long-term change.

A similar initiative was undertaken at the four plants in Spain, and later, in the printing facility in Hungary. These assignments provided the foundation for better organisational structures, job accountabilities and measures of performance for the principal plants and the Group’s head office. Our work concentrated on analysing the business’ long-term goals, the structure and controls required, and the related core processes. This realised substantial additional savings while creating the framework for growth and for a new, integrated information system.

The Polestar Group has recognised the tough operating environment in which it does business and the threats and opportunities presented by new technologies. So, finally we completed an evaluation of proposals, on behalf of the investors, for a £100 million investment in a new greenfield facility, the re-equipment of the binderies and the adoption of web-based technologies to strengthen relationships with customers.

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