The company has operated in the textile sector, in particular manufacturing fabric for men’s shirts, for over fifty years. It is a well regarded by shirt manufacturers, positioned in the medium / high segment of the market. Management is dominated by members of the owning family, covering different company functions. Non-family managers are few and are in charge of just Administration, Finance and Control and Plant Management. The market is extremely competitive, and the number of competitors has changed very little over the years. Some of these just get by, and the same can be said for the client company. Only a few have managed to grow, thanks to a strong push towards international sales and by having lower-quality fabric produced abroad (India and China). Branded products account for 65% of revenues, while the range represents 10%. The rest is scattered across many different markets. The sales organization is weak. There is a Sales Manager in Italy, coordinating the activities of a dozen agents. Foreign markets are managed by the owner’s son. Foreign sales contracts are mainly closed during trade exhibitions and thanks to two agents covering the German and French markets. Turnover is stagnant and the company’s results are generally disappointing.
The owners, acting on another entrepreneur’s advice, decide to call in Contract Manager s.r.l. to make an in-depth analysis of the company, with special focus on product, service and sales. A young, 40 year-old manager, with long experience in textile export sales, is selected. The manager starts the assignment as Sales and Marketing Manager. He is assisted by a shadow manager, a General Manager of Contract Manager with deep experience of the textile and apparel sector. His job is to define the strategies for growth and to supervise the work of the interim manager.
During the first months of assignment the customer portfolio is thoroughly analyzed and group meetings are held with all Italian and foreign agents.
Following this, the next autumn/winter collection is changed and the first Italian agents are replaced. The Sales Manager for Italy is dismissed and new agents are appointed for important markets hitherto uncovered: UK, USA, Japan, Spain and France. The two agents for Germany are confirmed and a third is added.
The first year of the assignment already shows positive sales results. The sales network is further strengthened, and the collections are well received by customers that had ceased to buy fabric from the company. The owners are satisfied with the results and give the new manager freedom of action. He is increasingly involved in selecting stylists, both inside and outside the company, and in supervising new collections and communication. By the end of the second year, sales results are outstanding. Turnover has doubled. The company has won many new customers. The plants are working at maximum capacity and the company’s results have radically improved. During the third year of the assignment revenue has been stabilized at the previous year’s impressive level, paving the way for further growth.