New group structure unveiled

Cornwall Glass has formed a new group structure encompassing three newly created divisions across its merchanting, manufacturing and glazing businesses.

Effective from July 1, the glass processor’s businesses will be divided between two new limited companies: Cornwall Glass Manufacturing and Cornwall Glass and Glazing.

With Mackenzie Glass – its merchanting business acquired by Cornwall Glass in December 2017 from Pilkington/NSG – they will sit under a newly created entity, the Cornwall Group, operating as independent profit and loss centres.

This includes a decision to give its retail glazing division, Cornwall Glass and Glazing, the opportunity to buy products from competitor businesses.

Mark Mitchell, chairman of Cornwall Group, said: “We’re now a £20 million turnover business but our management and organisational structure hadn’t kept pace with that growth and had simply evolved from where we had started as a small family business.

“Our new structure creates a series of new and smaller boards, bringing far greater focus to specific and defined areas of the business.

“These are completely autonomous. We didn’t want them to be puppet businesses of the group. It means at the end of the month money will move between bank accounts. It stops being paper money and that will bring new focus to what we’re doing.

“This includes allowing our retail businesses to go outside the group if they can make the case for doing so. If they need to, this will allow them to deliver a better customer experience but also drive continually improving service levels and product quality within our manufacturing businesses.

“Cornwall Glass and Glazing becomes an external customer.” The new Cornwall Glass Manufacturing Division includes Cornwall Glass’s flagship site at Langage Plymouth, which saw £5 million investment in new plant and equipment in 2016, to create new high speed IGU lines as well as specialism in oversized architectural units.

The division also includes Cornwall Glass’s former IGU and processing facilities at St Austell and Highbridge, just south of Bristol.

It will be headed by Mark Norcliffe, previously Cornwall Glass’s sales director, and Mark Knight, its former HR director. They are joined by technical director Angus Herdman and Mark Mitchell on a new board.

“It’s about agility and flexibility,” Mark said. “The boards across divisions are smaller which makes them more agile and more focused. It puts us in a position to respond more effectively to our customers inside the group and externally.”

The announcement also includes detail on a restructure of its trade counter businesses. This includes the closure of two sites in Launceston and Warminster and consolidation of operations in Exeter and Plymouth from two locations to one.

The new division, headed by managing director Paul Garrard, has also announced more than £1.4 million investment in the opening of new large-scale and high prominence facility in Truro.
“The challenges in the high street are well publicised,” Mark said. “It’s where we started out more than 40 years ago but things have and are changing and we need to change with them. It was emotional to close sites which we have had for 25 or 30 years but we needed to do the right thing for the business.

“We’ve also manged to do it without any compulsory redundancies. Mark continued: “Our choice of group name, and the decision to drop ‘glass’, is also deliberate and we may look outside our core sector as we move forward.”