Godminster Cheese

From cottage industry to SME

Godminster make award winning, organic cheeses using very unique manufacturing processes that make their cheese simply irresistible.

When The Extra Mile Partnership arrived at Godminster it became clear that the company knew everything about how to make the perfect cheese but were lacking fundamental processes to help them drive forward as a business.

Although the brand was profitable it had experienced flat line growth for five years and needed leadership to help it to move up to the next level.

Employees were hard working and willing but the lack of direction meant they were operating in silos.

There was insufficient accountability and everyone was just doing things ‘their way’ meaning the business was not working as a cohesive whole. Production essentially ran the business with little effort placed on sales or marketing with no attention given to tracking previous orders.

We worked with Godminster founder, Richard Hollingbury, throughout the process who utilised Paul Stalker in a temporary leadership capacity, with a view to a permanent position becoming available once the structure was in place.

The Extra Mile Partnership initially completed an audit of the business and conducted a series of interviews with the staff along with visiting the distributors to really understand the complete picture of Godminster, as it stood.

Having examined every aspect of the company, through a diagnostic analysis, we graded everything in a simple traffic light system; ‘green; in place’, ‘amber; in the process of’ and ‘red; needs to be implemented’.

Stalkie continues: “We then developed a staged plan for the company – the ‘Godminster Way’ – where we implemented different phases over agreed times, so everyone knew what was expected of them and their role in getting this business out to market.”

Sorting out the personnel was a key phase and through strength tests and personality profiling The Extra Mile Partnership was able to more clearly determine employee’s key skills. We were able to help put the right people in the right job where they knew what was expected of them and how to do their role, with any competency issues quickly and easily addressed.

By giving employees accountability – so having minutes in meetings with actions and agreed timings – meant people had direction and consistency. We knew that by reaffirming the good in people, they would try harder and would be empowered with confidence to succeed.

Within the process The Extra Mile Partnership helped Godminster set up a separate sales department who took on designated sellers and a sales manager to streamline the team and keep it separate from other parts of the business, with rigid plans for growth.

The hierarchy of the business was addressed where we looked at the core values of Godminister and worked with Richard to understand what the culture stood for so everyone was united with the same understanding and passion. This could then be replicated through every touch point of the business, creating cohesion internally and externally.

Hierarchy could only be achieved from the top down so everyone knew what the job of the CEO was, in line with the brand vision, followed by the senior management team, all of whom needed to lead by example. It was key to get the employees to put the goals of the company first, rather than just their own department, to eliminate the silo effects seen when we first started to work with the company.

We also looked at the systems in place at Godminister and there was a big investment in IT. By bringing the company up to date with the way clients interacted – such as ordering online or specific ordering times – meant we were able to help the business devise effective long-term processes. We wanted to help Godminster find a method where it was easier for clients to interact with the company and remove some of the self-imposed limitations it had.

De-risking the order books was another crucial phase and The Extra Mile Partnership worked with Richard in a number of areas including understanding what credit limit should be placed on overseas orders, orders versus margin size and looking at the percentage of the company’s client base. Was Godminster’s customer base large enough so profits would not be affected too significantly if it lost a customer?

By understanding the order books and also adding a financial metric of 1) transaction value 2) frequency and 3) lifetime, we were able to identify a number of red flags including if a customer had not returned after a few months. Processes were then put in place to manage these steps in the future.

The phased plan took place over an agreed xxx months, with every target hit and exceeded.

Talking about the company Stalkie explains: “The challenges we saw at Godminster are by no means unique to this brand but are widespread in business, from small enterprises to huge, global leaders. Richard knew that in order to grow he needed to change the way his business operated and the results we achieved speak volumes.”

When someone calls Godminster – whoever they are – they now all receive the same brand experience. The workforce are engaged, feel valued, have targets and there are processes, departments and a proper leadership team in place.

Richard concludes: “Would I recommend The Extra Mile Partnership? Without question an undoubted yes! I feel much stronger and more in control as a company. We’ve gone from a cottage industry into an SME. ”

By reducing the numbers of disengaged colleagues across B&Q from 1 in 3 to 1 in 7, Martyn Phillips, HR Director reported, “this increase in engagement liberated an extra £100 million of resources that had been previously burned on paying salaries to disengaged staff”.