How we gave our client peace of mind – and $35 million

By Maggie Chen posted 05-28-2018 11:47

  

Management consulting done differently

John’s story: 

John is one of our royalty clients since 2007. He is involved in plastic recycling, manufacturing, and also invests in two other businesses. 

Business Challenge: Accounting/Finance/Tax Improvements

Going back to June 2007, John told me he received a CRA letter for auditing tax and needed us to check his accounting/finance/tax situations. Our accountant and I went to his manufacturer and found his manufacturer didn’t set up accounting procedures, policies, and also used an unappropriated accounting system. He hired a bookkeeper who didn’t understand accounting well.

What we did:

We spent three months to fix the current problems, set up procedures, policies, advised using the correct accounting system, and planned his personal and company finances.

John was happy with the solutions that we provided to him. In 2008, we reduced the costs in the accounting department by 35%.

As a management consultant, my role is help businesses improve their performance, and grow by solving problems and finding new and better ways of doing things. I am involved with multinational clients to help develop their services and, where necessary, reduce costs and create savings.

Keys to a successful business relationship – trust, honesty and reliability. We built a good relationship with John!

Business Challenge: Improving efficiency; Reducing Costs and Increasing Profits

One day, John told me he needed advanced technologies and systems for the collection, sorting, and reprocessing of recyclable plastics. High labor costs and inefficiencies in procedures were some problems he faced.

What we did:

1.    Lean Management:

After observing and analyzing his challenges, we created the tools used in Lean which include:

  • Flowcharting
  • Building cells
  • The 5Ss
  • Pull Systems
  • Kanban Design
  • Value-add/non-value-added analysis
  • Setup reduction
  • Brainstorming
  • Staff training - Lean principle

Results:

The results from a one week improvement event led to as much as four times the previous throughput measurements in his factory! Outstanding coaching and direction allowed employees at all levels to quickly understand the basics of lean manufacturing and act on them right out of the gate. The enthusiasm of the team continued into the factory and made a significant positive change!

 2.    Purchased Advanced Technology - Growth Capital

Our researcher provided a plastic recycling technology report to John so he could understand which technologies could improve his current situation. In the case of plastics, particularly PET bottles, the smart liquid removes colorants and contaminants, leaving behind a usable raw material than can be recycled back into more plastic bottles. The process produces just 30% of the carbon dioxide that would result from manufacturing one kilogram of PET from petrochemical sources, according to Chemistry World.

In order to purchase advance technology, John needed to raise capital. We prepared capital structures, a professional business plan, and business valuation related documents for several areas. We successfully raised 2.5 million from investors.

Business Challenge: Investment on Return and Risk Management

John invested in two start-up companies from his social contracts in 2006. One was Clean Energy. The deal was 5% equity for every 250k investment. Another one was Energy Drink related. The deal was 10% equity for $100,000. John was expecting to get a return on his investments in five years, but the return failed. These two companies faced competition, market demand problems, and didn’t have any money left over after five years.

What we did:

I checked his investment agreement that specified that the company pays all the investors back what they invested when the company folds. That's not an investment.

I told him you should ask different questions before signing an investment agreement as below:

  • Should a founder reimburse investors for their investment if the company folds (which means the company cannot fully pay back investors, in the normal case)?
  • That depends on what the founder agreed to. Founders don't normally give such guarantees. If they could, why would they need investors?

John should not invest in any start-up company that requires the ability to withdraw, cash-out, or liquidate within a certain period of time. With high-risk equity investments, there is no legal contractual obligation to wind up and distribute money if there are any funds leftover. As investors, we know we’re taking that kind of risk and might not get our original investment back.

Business Challenge: High Operating Costs

Labor Costs and Transpiration Costs:

We found the high operating costs issues such as balancing their labor requirements and lower labor costs. For transportation costs, there are 50% costs to ship from Calgary to Vancouver to Europe. 

What we did: Relocate manufacturing operations to Taiwan

With over 15 years of international business consulting experience, I suggested for him to operate in Taiwan. The corporate headquarters is still in Canada. That will reduce operating costs. The analysis has been structured to be a relevant cost-comparison tool for a broad segment of advanced manufacturing companies engaged in recycling industries. The rate of relocation strategy to remain competitive and add value is defining measures of the advanced manufacturing sector. CTL Business Group has offices in Taiwan, USA and Canada so our staff in Taiwan are able to follow up our client requirements efficiently.

There are several advantages to relocating manufacturing operations to Taiwan as below:

1Lower costs

2. Better Service

3. Higher Output/Quicker Time

Business Challenge: Marketing Expansion

In 2013, John decided to acquire or merge another plastic recycling company in China. The purpose is to find a plastic recycling company in China that has clients in the USA.

What we did:

As a certified mergers & acquisitions professional, I designed and customized an M&A pitch book to him. I organized all M&A processes such as screening targets, doing due diligence, performing valuations, legal, accounting/finance/tax, human resources and synergy measurements and so on. I connected with professional accountants, lawyers, and valuators and communicated with the founder/CEO so we were able to close deals successfully. In 2014, we acquired two manufacturers in China. Cross - border M&A involves a large amount of legal, accounting/finance/tax, and cultural differences. This is why you need to hire an experienced M&A Advisor to follow up on every detail.

Business Challenge: It’s time to Exit a business!

Due to health reasons, John decided to sell his plastic recycling business after 13 years. He has two sons. One lives in Vancouver, and the other lives in Calgary but is a doctor. They don’t want to continue his business. He has offices in Calgary, Canada and California, USA and two manufacturers in New Taipei City, Taiwan and Guangdong, China.

What we did:

We wanted to sell John’s business for the best price. First, we had an “Exit Business Succession Planning Pitch book” including exit time frame. Our Exit Expert can ensure the process ends in success, rather than failure. There are several things that need to be prepared:

  • Plan the business strategy to drive maximum value.
  • Ensure the business is in market areas that command high valuations.
  • Focus on how to add value, not just sales.
  • Make sure the business is correctly valued.
  • Pay less tax on exit! We weigh up your tax liabilities to ensure the exit doesn’t cost more than is bargained for.
  • Make sure legal sites in three locations
  • Identify potential buyers and management teams.
  • Track down the right people and systems to move forward.
  • Consider and prepare for the buyers’ needs and due diligence.
  • Work through the transitional period to minimize work and stress.
  • Plan the timing – when his business is well invested not up against issues

On Dec, 2017, we sold John’s Plastic Recycling business for 35 million to USA client in one year. I remembered two buyers asked for lower prices but didn’t meet our expectations. We waited until the best deals came to us.

Finally, John moved to California, USA on Feb, 2018. When I traveled to California, I didn’t forget to visit John!

Passionate towards business consulting

I am interested in how a business works – its strategy, structure, management and operations – a career in management consultancy is for me.

In addition, the broad span of consulting work makes it an attractive career to me, offering a variety of projects, challenges and opportunities for personal development. We involve working all over the world with multinational clients. CTL Business Group specializes in strategic planning, business growth, corporate finance, buying/selling business, valuations, mergers & acquisitions, investments, and training. We have offices in Calgary, Canada, California, USA and Taipei, Taiwan.

“To make every business a success”; “Global vision to build the future” are our missions and values. Although business consulting is not a big profit business, I am passionate in helping businesses improve their performance and grow by solving problems and finding the right strategies.

Your encouragement is important to me. Please hit like, comment, or share my article. Thanks.

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