Over the weekend it was announced that Shand Cycles had been acquired by the Liberty House Group. Now that the dust has settled a little, I thought it was important that I laid out to our existing and potential customers what this actually means and what impact it would have in the way Shand design, build and sell bicycles.
The first and most important thing that needs to be said is that this is a “good thing”. I’ve come across comments and I’ve had emails suggesting that this is some sort of predatory acquisition or some sort of hostile takeover. None of this could be further from the truth. This is something that we at Shand wanted and needed. It was essential to maintain a sustainable business and pursue the future plans we have.
So what does this mean for Shand going forward? Well, to begin with I don’t see a whole lot of things changing. The personnel remain as it was, Russell and I (we were the founders and owners) are fully committed to the business and we’re still here doing what we’ve always done. The rest of the staff remain unchanged for the moment but even before this weekends announcement, we were recruiting additional staff to supplement the existing team.
The way we build, paint and assemble bikes will remain mostly unchanged. This deal was all about maintaining and expanding our manufacturing facilities here in the UK. Russell and I had a plan for the future of the business and it has always been our intention to grow the business while still keeping the manufacturing base here in the UK. Our new owners have bought into that plan 100%. In fact, that agreement and support for our plans was critical to us in ensuring that the acquisition could go ahead. Sanjeev Gupta the head of the Liberty Group shares our passion for UK manufacturing.
So what will the new structure allow us to do? Our first aim is to expand our production capacity. We’re in a very lucky situation in that we’re consistently selling more bikes every month than we can produce. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that’s not sustainable. Currently it just means our leadtime (and stress levels!) go up. With additional investment we can increase our capacity to allow us to reduce our leadtime, our supply chain can be more efficient (and cost effective), we’ll be less liable to suffer delays at the hands of 3rd party suppliers and our own delivery times can be more accurate and predictable.
Of course we have other plans in the short and long term and we’ll share these with you when we get to that point. For now though I think I can speak for everyone here at Shand by saying we’re very excited for the future.