French and Jupps Ltd specialises in the production of top-quality speciality roasted and fine crystal malts. The business has been supplying malted barley to the food and beverage industry for over 300 years, mainly for beer producers in Britain and across the world. The company is now run by Managing Director, Paul King.
French and Jupps Ltd is an old family business which was established in 1689 in West Sussex. After several moves, the business relocated in 1864 to Stanstead Abbotts, East Hertfordshire.
Key challenges faced recently by French and Jupps Ltd have included the massive increase in grain prices due to the impact of the Ukraine war, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic which meant sales of beer plummeted due to pub closures and customer orders for malted barley were much reduced. In addition to these issues, overseas shipping and transport costs have almost doubled, and energy prices have soared.
The manufacturing process requires a lot of energy to generate heat but the company’s operating premises are in a listed building which can’t easily be modified, for example with solar panels. So energy usage remains high, costly and unavoidable.
French and Jupps Ltd decided to work with the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) to support their strategy for diversification and growth. The Manufacturing Growth Programme is designed and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice and funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Amanda Freeland, Manufacturing Growth Manager for MGP, guided French and Jupps through a GROWTHmapper® business diagnostic review. The conclusion of this review was to focus on creating new marketing materials with better, more direct content for the business to use at exhibitions and with potential new customers. Developing the content, layout and format for new brochures included adding QR codes to enable easy access to information about the company’s brand and products.
Amanda commented; “This company with its documented history over centuries has faced almost impossible challenges in the past few years. Their go-ahead thinking and determination have enabled them to survive difficult times and they are now growing substantially. The help we have been able to provide through MGP has made a real difference to them.”
Owing to the Ukraine war affecting grain production, Covid increasing transport costs, and energy price surges, the business was making a loss, but it has made a turn-around by diversifying into bakery grains, and remarkably its order book is now full for the next 8 months. The support from MGP on the company’s marketing efforts has made a huge difference and the business has seen the results in growing its client base, reducing risk/exposure to market issues, and increasing its income from £4.4m to £5.4m.
We asked Paul King, Managing Director of French and Jupps, what it was like working with the Manufacturing Growth Programme. He said;
“These grants are so valuable to us as a small business. Getting access to this funding really makes a big difference; we would have hesitated about going ahead with the marketing project investment as the business was having a tough time, but these grants really did help.
“In challenging times, this grant scheme has been like a chink of light – we went ahead and got the support we needed from Amanda our MGM, and it’s really helped us. We’ve actually more than doubled our customer base, we’ve increased turnover by 20%, we’ve pulled ourselves from loss-making into a decent profit, we’ve diversified from 95% brewer sales to 70%, with 30% of turnover now being bakeries, and we have a full order-book. Schemes like this should be a key part of government’s SME support strategy for manufacturing, as a structured scheme. They should also be much more visible – currently we don’t know what manufacturing grant support is coming next, whether there’ll be any at all, nor when. We can’t plan our investment strategy like that; it’s unclear, it may not happen – the future roadmap for funding needs to be made clear so businesses can plan properly.”
French and Jupps Ltd has seen a 20% sales increase since working with the Manufacturing Growth Programme. The company have also taken on a new laboratory technician and is on track with their strategy for growth.
To find out more about French and Jupps Ltd, please visit: www.frenchandjupps.com