Recently I took a break from the seemingly endless economic slow-down, to visit the Henderson’s Relish factory because they are producing a limited run with a Master Cutler’s Challenge label.
At my launch event this month I handed out £50 notes in the relish bottles and extended the challenge to 100 companies for the ninth year.
The process is: I give out £50 notes and ask those involved to grow it as much as possible; six months later, having grown it to a much larger sum, they return this to the Challenge. The aim is to have fun and, of course, raise as much money as possible. The beneficiaries this year are St Luke’s and Rotherham Hospices, with a particular focus on Hospice at Home.
Interestingly, 70 per cent of people want to die at home but in Rotherham and Sheffield only around 20 per cent do. This year I want to help in this area.
Coming back to Henderson’s Relish, it is well known to us but the recipe is a family secret; none of the staff know the actual recipe that gives this iconic Sheffield sauce its signature taste. Nonetheless, they manage to produce 6,000 bottles a day.
To achieve this, two of the three current owners come in to the factory each month and mix a concentrated batch of the mysterious spices, which is then added to the water and vinegar base in precise quantities.
Recently the three family members who guard this intellectual property went on holiday together to Florida. “Separate planes?” I asked. Contingency plans are in place, was the reply.
This Sheffield manufacturer would certainly be considered for Freedom of the Cutlers’ Company and is already a licensee of the Made in Sheffield Mark.
Principal guest at the Cutlers’ Feast will be Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills.
He says “If we could match the USA for productivity, it would boost our GDP by 31 per cent – equivalent to £21,000 a year for every household in the UK.”
My view is: there’s money leaking out of every factory in the UK and we should all be on the lookout for it. We need to be vigilant as the global slowdown will affect us all this year and, as commodity prices fall and competition increases, every penny saved will be a penny earned, and one way of doing this is by increasing productivity.
Improvement and the pursuit of excellence isn’t just for large companies – efficiency and the elimination of waste should be high on SMEs’ agenda.