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.
We’re looking for additional people to join our fabrication team here at Shand. You’ll be working as part of a small team responsible for fabricating our bicycle frames from the raw tube stage through to having them fully prepped for paint. We have a flexible working environment so specific roles and duties will depend on the skillset of the successful applicant(s).
It would be expected that applicants would be familiar and have experience of at least some of the following :
Milling machine operation
General handtool metalwork skills (drilling, filing etc)
Working knowledge of bicycles and their construction would be useful but not essential.
This is a full-time, permanent role based in Central Scotland.
Applications with CV should be sent to email@example.com.
short version : prices on ALL of our models will be going up at the end of this month. Any orders placed along with a deposit before 1st March will be secured at the current price. In other words, if you’re on the fence, get your order in!
Long version : we were hit with price rises at the start of last year that had a knock on effect, meaning we had to increase our prices at the end of 2016. We managed to keep this to a couple of the affected models and the rises weren’t too big.
Since about the end of last summer we’ve seen ridiculous price increases on virtually everything we buy, labour costs and transport costs. Most of what we buy, we purchase in either US dollars or Euros, the graphs above illustrate the direction currency is heading for us, especially in the past year or so (Brexit anyone?). So even if the published costs of the goods from our suppliers hasn’t gone up, the actual cost to us has. Very little of what we buy is in Sterling and since most of our customers are here in the UK and pay in Sterling, that leaves us very exposed to currency fluctuations.
There are ways to mitigate against this. The most obvious one is to allow our overseas customers to pay in Euros or Dollars and we use that cash to pay our Euro or Dollar bills, thereby avoiding any exchange rate issues. On the surface, this works. However, because of the cheap pound, our products are actually very attractive to overseas customers once they factor in the exchange rate (our weak pound helps them). If we were to allow them to pay in USD or Euros, we’d lose a lot of customers (approx 30% of our sales go overseas) as our products would then start to look comparitively expensive.
Aside from currency issues, we’re seeing general costs increasing on top of this. Labour costs in Asia (a substantial amount of components are coming to us from Taiwan) are increasing year on year. Transport costs (shipping parts around the world) are getting more and more expensive everyday, this has a big effect on us.
And of course the goods that we buy here in the UK are often either imported from overseas or are manufactured from raw materials from overseas, so even though we’re buying those in GBP, those prices have gone up too.
Putting prices up is never a good thing but we need to be realistic and we need to make sure we can run a profitable company to enable us to continuing employing people and investing back into the company. The business needs to be sustainable so we can continue to make great products here in the UK. Thanks for supporting us.
Promoting Sustrans and route NCN78, Lee Craigie of the Adventure Syndicate took Jimmy the Shand (a MTB prototype she’s been testing for us) along the Caledonia Way in a short film that shares her thoughts about cycling.
The Caledonia Way is a long distance cycle route, linking Campbeltown on the west coast, with the Highland capital of Inverness in the east. A stunning route we think you’ll agree.
16-19 February 2017
Next week we’ll be heading to the Excel in London for the London Bike Show and you’ll find us on stand number LB1400.
We also have 10 complimentary tickets to give away, so if you’re planning on coming to see us, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details before the end of Thursday 9 February to claim a free ticket:
First come, first served – oh and only one ticket per request!
Show website: www.thelondonbikeshow.co.uk