BUSINESS specialists are having a positive impact on companies across Wales and the North West.
David Lloyd-Williams and John Westlake, directors of Bodelwyddan-based Principality Consulting, are helping to turn manufacturing and technology firms around with their combined decades of experience in IT, mechanical engineering and business strategy.
David, from Prestatyn, joined Principality in 2013 and later moved the organisation from Ebbw Vale up to North Wales.
Following several years as a contractor, he eventually joined forces with John, who lives in Broughton, a mechanical engineer who spent years in the biotech industry.
After working together on a project for global mining group Rio Tinto in Scotland they decided to combine their skills full-time and are now helping to reenergise and re-programme businesses in a variety of arenas across the region and over the border.
“The main areas we work in are IT and in identifying the systems these businesses use and how they can make the most out of them to be more efficient, save money and help their workforce,” said dad-of-two David, 51.
“Businesses often have outdated technology, Excel spreadsheets and bits of paper everywhere which are difficult to manage and often mean that countless hours are spent searching for vital information. Our knowledge of the latest technologies and the systems available mean that we can give great advice to companies so that they will be able to implement a system which reduces these issues, fits them like a glove and makes them much more productive in the process.”
John, 60, added: “We break things down, look at all aspects of the company and give them the diagnosis on how to improve. It is like a health check-up, but for your company.”
“They’re often doing a brilliant job with fantastic systems and processes and need that confirming, but sometimes we’ll look at things and see they’re only using 5-10% of what they have. Their systems can be out of compliance with regards data security or having missed essential machinery service dates, meaning that they are liable for a fine. There are simple, cheap solutions which will prevent this from happening”
“What’s important for us is the neutrality; we are independent and will do what is best for the client. We are not selling anything or affiliated to a certain product or service so we will always give an honest assessment.”
Raised in Bangor, David began an apprenticeship with Anglesey Aluminium after leaving school before working on the Conwy Tunnel as a maintenance engineer. He later returned to the now defunct Holyhead smelting plant, before launching his own business.
Dad-of-two John is originally from the Wirral and worked as a maintenance manager; he has been contracting in computerised systems and databases for more than 20 years, notably in the south of England, Scotland and overseas – including California.
Their skills and experience blend well, and by harnessing advances in technology they can provide solutions and strategy for myriad sectors.
“We sit down with these companies and really get underneath the skin, so there is a lot of trust there,” said David.
“It’s important to get it right from the start, so we can help to select the right system, manage the implementation – usually alongside the vendor – and resolve any issues that do arise.”
John added that a workforce would traditionally put up with issues day-to-day, but that attitude is changing.
“Certainly, you can see employees having to work around a problem, whether that be a machine that constantly breaks down or a slow system, but ultimately that’s costing time and money,” he said.
“That’s why it’s important to speak to the people on the ground when we are diagnosing an issue as they know all about the nuts and bolts of how the business works. The managers and chief executives understand how it should work, but only the people on the ground know how it works. That’s how you get a true reflection of what can be done to improve.”
Working with companies around the UK, Principality Consulting has gone from strength to strength in the last 12 months.
The partners are all about ‘lean’ strategies and processes, and their own ethic is to anticipate rather than react, and to be as flexible and supportive as possible.
“We can turn a company around, we really can,” said John.
“Between us we can make a business very efficient very quickly, but that has come with years of knowledge in different arenas, and by trying to remain at the forefront of changes in technology – we are proud of that.”
David added: “It can be a relationship that lasts from a few days to many years, depending on the business and where they are in terms of productivity and performance.
“What we do isn’t simply IT or number crunching and data, it’s knowing every aspect of a business and seeing all of the angles. It’s also not about criticising or being negative about what they already have, it’s about working together with the business and their current suppliers – shining a light on the best ways forward.”