There is a saying, that relationships in life, and business, support and connect people, and allow them to grow all aspects of their lives, and that has never been more so, than with the former owners of the highly successful WA company Pumpnseal Australia.
Alison and Gavin Taylor, along with Anthony Paul, all worked for the same business in the 1980s. The two men were salesmen when Alison, a bright young business student came to work in accounts whilst studying her business degree.
Long story short, Alison feel for the young salesman Gavin, they both left the company to pursue other dreams and later married. However, their relationship with that business was to have another unexpected chapter.
In the late nineties the couple reconnected with Anthony who had just returned from living overseas, and soon after acquired the business where they had all met. The PUMPNSEAL story began. The team set about building the business up into a thriving enterprise, specialising in pumps and seals for companies in predominately mining and industrial applications.
The Taylors describe it as a serendipitous reunion. Gavin recalls; “We saw the opportunity to acquire the business and thought, well, we know it. Anthony knows it, so we joined forces “Alison was now a CPA and the two guys knew the business and had expertise in management and sales.”
Alison says Pumpnseal succeeded for a long time and the team was satisfied with its approach of achieving 10% growth year-on- year.
“We did that until the end of 2012 when we had the resources decline and the ore price dropped – all stuff beyond our control,” she says.
“It showed some of the cracks in the business we hadn’t seen, so, while our competitors were cutting staff, we decided to invest in the business, and prepare for when it turned around because we knew it would, and then we’d be ready to go.”
In 2017, after having previously helped the company with budgeting and reporting, Mathieu Paul, from Insight Advisory Group, reconnected with Pumpnseal when they required financial forecasts. Soon after the company was also selected for the ANZ’s prestigious Business Growth Program.
Alison explains that they were selected as 1 of 10 companies that year, amongst other small to medium businesses, with potential for growth, and leaders with an appetite to expand.
“We had to prepare a comprehensive 3-year plan,” she says.
“We were all busy and weren’t prioritising it, so we got Math got involved; to help us put together that strategic plan,” she says.
Math says he’d always wanted to work more closely with the business and welcomed the opportunity when it came, to help it grow, clearing a significant supply bottleneck, and streamlining operations. “Sales were increasing, and the recipe is always the same; if you have a business that’s making sales, there are two other ingredients you need to enhance it; a good culture and strong management,” he says.
“Pumpnseal had all that so I was confident we could achieve anything they wanted.”
And it did. In the 3 years from 2017, net sales doubled and trading gross profit increased by 40%.
Thanks to Insight’s assistance with systems, human resources and performance improvement, overheads on sales also decreased by 30%.
Pumpnseal sold to a multi-billion- dollar UK company in January 2020 and Gavin and Anthony both remain working there as Directors.
The Taylors reminisce, that for a time-poor couple running a business and balancing family responsibilities, Insight was the perfect solution because its staff ‘got in the trenches’ and did the practical things that needed to be done rather than just telling them what to do or how to do it.
“That was more practical for us because we were deeply immersed in the business. We’re not business owners that slip into the business on Fridays. We were working on and in the business all the time,” Gavin says.
“That’s one of the problems with small business – you exhaust yourself, and when you try to sell it, it’s not worth anything, because you’re leaving.
“Part of what Math and the Insight team did was walk us through the process of a corporate buy-out. We had a lot of early morning whiteboards sessions. Math helped us, not just put financial and business markers in place – the due diligence is unbelievable; but also prepped us about what the negotiations were going to be like and ensured we didn’t leave any value on the table.”
Alison explains, they did not go into business just to make money though.
“We just bought a business that we knew we could build on, and suddenly that business was successful. But for me, the biggest achievement was the culture and the team we created. Pumpnseal had a real atmosphere about it and from the moment you walked in, you knew it was something special.
“That to me was our biggest accomplishment.”