The Yard @ Pringle Farm achieves Visit England 5* Rating

The Yard @ Pringle Farm achieves Visit England 5* Rating

Visit England 5* ratingAs well as 4* + Gold Awards for all other self catering barns.

We are delighted to announce that that the showstopping Cheltenham barn at RML’s sister company  The Yard @ Pringle Farm has been awarded a prestigious Visit England 5* rating!

We always knew the Cheltenham was rather special, so it’s great to have been recognised as reaching the highest possible rating – defined as:

Five Star
Exceptional with a degree of luxury – At least 2 of the following items (tumble dryer, telephone, stereo, DVD)

4* Plus Gold Award

As well as the Visit England 5* rating for our Cheltenham suite, our other barns have all been awarded a 4* plus Gold Award rating, recognising the consistent quality those who stay with us can expect to experience.

The 4* award represents an “Excellent level of quality and comfort”, and the gold awards have been given to the properties with high overall scores and solid scores in the sectional consistency areas, to include public areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and cleanliness.

IOSH Managing Safely® Training Commences

IOSH Managing Safely® Training Commences

IOSH ‘Managing Safely®’ Training Commences


As we continue maintaining high levels of health and safety standards, RML is now commencing IOSH Managing Safely® training within the business as more employees return to the office. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is a chartered body and leading membership organisation for safety and health professionals, in which RML have been approved as an official training provider.

This accreditation is a globally-recognised, respected and certificated source of high quality health and safety training for the business. We chose to specifically implement the ‘Managing Safely’ course, which educates managers and supervisors in the core principles of health and safety. This is then able to be cascaded to employees across all seven sites of the business and create a consistent message about our safety standards.

A key part of Head of HSEQ Matt Davies’ strategy for the business, this course aims to educate employees around the motivation behind our safety procedures through group training and case studies. This ensures we take our health and safety mission further than just legal compliance, as employees are able to identify possible risks and raise them proactively.

There has been no time wasted in starting these training courses whilst our production levels have been able to increase. Production Supervisors and Office Managers have attended the 3-day course, in which they can learn about health and safety principles, followed by a closed book exam to ensure they have fully understood the teachings.

We have also seen the benefits of instilling more responsibility in our Managers and Supervisors, as they have taken the time to study outside of work and been able to apply these learnings to risk assessments across different sites. This provides them with an industry recognised qualification for 3 years and shorter refresher courses are accessible once this expires.

This course will continue to be rolled out to all of our leaders in the business and we look forward to seeing the positive impacts this has on our employees and how they prioritise safety precautions.

Audited Results

Audited Results

Audited Accounts FY18-19

An excerpt from the final filed audited accounts for Robinson Manufacturing Ltd from FY18-19.

“It’s been a fun four years since we bought the business (5 years since departing banking!) and I am particularly pleased with sales growth and ROCE over those four years on the back of a pretty clear strategy,” explained CEO Simon Kidney. “This has given us our strongest ever balance sheet and helped us navigate the challenges of COVID assisted by a diversification strategy with alternative income sources across the wider group. And, contrary to hearsay, against decreasing lending year on year!”

He continued: “We couldn’t do this without brilliant suppliers and great customers who believe in our production and proposition, and of course we couldn’t do this without our ‘best in class’ team across our 7 sites. And our amazing partners like Mitesh Thakrar and his audit team who have been outstanding, pragmatic and engaging throughout this process.”

And the Winner is… RML!

And the Winner is… RML!

Robinson Manufacturing are very proud to have won the Finance Transaction of the Year award at the 2019 Finance Awards in Milton Keynes last night. The award was won for the acquisition led by CEO Simon Kidney in January of the assets of ETFS, National Hickman’s joist manufacturing arm, owned by US firm Masonite.

Simon explained the rationale behind the deal: “Almost entirely complementary to RML’s manufacturing operation, ETFS gave us an immediate and substantial boost in manufacturing capacity available to housebuilders across the West Midlands.”

Despite cultural and legal hurdles inevitable with a transatlantic deal, as well as the complexity of extracting a subsidiary company from Masonite’s UK arm, RML closed the deal in just 10 working days, on 29th January 2019. The deal was essentially self-funding, with the assets-only purchase significantly strengthening RML’s cash position.

“Since the deal went through, the ETFS team have been welcomed into the RML family, strengthening our senior leadership team,” Simon continued. “We are delighted to say we have been able to capitalise on our investment in the additional production capacity to bring in many more truss and joist joint deals so the deal has proven its worth to Robinson Manufacturing many times over.”

The Awards, organised by ICAEW, Robert Walters, RSM and HSBC, are an annual event highlighting outstanding businesses that contribute to the economy and employment in the region.

What House Interview

What House Interview

This month’s edition of ShowHouse Magazine features an interview with Robinson Manufacturing’s CEO, Simon Kidney as the Supply Chain feature.

The chief executive of Robinson Manufacturing may have taken an unconventional route into the timber industry, but, as GEORGE SELL discovers, fresh perspectives can often reap rewards for established companies. Simon Kidney, chief executive of truss and joist specialist Robinson Manufacturing, has taken one of the more unusual routes to a career with a leading supplier to the housebuilding industry that we have featured in this column….

You can download the full interview here.

Doubling the Business Overnight and How That Changes the Future

Doubling the Business Overnight and How That Changes the Future

Doubling the Business Overnight and How That Changes the Future

(by Simon Kidney, CEO)

I wish I knew the answer.

2018 proved to be another interesting year in the world of engineered wood. Anyone who takes the time to read my ramblings will know that my wood knowledge is minimal but spotting opportunities, coupled with understanding how the business world works, is probably more my forte.

Three noticeable changes in the truss and joist world included:

  • New owners at Crendons
  • Donaldson’s purchasing Cambridge Roof Truss
  • Cairngorm Capital taking strategy position in the market place.

As a former banker it’s great to see even more intelligence entering the timber world, coupled with the sector raising its game in terms of customer service, education and valuing its people.

At Robinson Manufacturing we had another busy year with the acquisition of Cheshire Roof Truss. The North West was certainly a destination missing from our armoury and this enabled us to really consider ourselves a national player, taking our factory count to five giving us good scope for future geographic expansion.

And 2019 started with a bang.

The National Hickman brand has been a strong one for many years. As a business, I’ve always admired its brand positioning and its power in the market place to service all the nationals. The opportunity to acquire the ETFS business was to good an opportunity to walk past.

What has struck me about the operation is the tenacity and talent of the staff. It’s common knowledge that they’ve been through the mill a little, but what a team. From the factory floor to the factory managers, and in between, the desire, attitude and drive is first rate. Akin to a pilot light in a boiler just about to be fired up, you can see excitement at the opportunity that lies before them as part of Robinson Manufacturing. While it sounds perverse, you can’t buy that. You can of course teach people to use a saw, but you can’t teach them to want to work as hard as possible and give an extra 10%. You can educate the difference between 245 and 235 joists. But you can’t educate people to have passion for their work.

This is what makes ETFS such a great fit with Robinson Manufacturing. We have all that in abundance already. The team all advocate the 10 things that require zero talent (which you will have all seen on LinkedIn or other platforms).

The great thing about doubling the size of a business overnight is the people challenge. We’ve welcomed another 100 people into our business overnight, yet they feel like they have been with us for decades.

What this does for any business (and I saw this at a larger scale with Lloyds and TSB, LTSB and HBOS etc) is to bring together two brilliant cultures and let you select the greatest things from both to move towards the challenges that lie ahead in the future as an even greater, well-prepared business.

Of course there are system challenges, there are cultural challenges and there is learning everyone’s name but, and it is a big but, if you don’t get the people piece right then the Lord of Flies strategy becomes a very big challenge to overcome!

Strategically, I refer my more geeky readers to Mintzberg: we’ve always used a bit of an emergent strategy. We know where we are going, we know what the journey should look like, but we need to be flexible and adaptive enough to overcome any hurdles that we encounter. Where we spot an opportunity, we make sure we are brave enough to embrace it and bold enough to follow our instincts. The next 24 months is no different. The industry faces similar challenges; raw price variants, house building constantly under the spot light of one reason or another, building material shortages, skill shortages and then there’s that ongoing Brexit debacle (that’s enough of that…). Yet I am still amazed at the tenacity within the business leaders and the many great people that work within our business and within our competitors.

So for us, the future challenges pre ETFS are the same as post. We’re just more prepared as we have doubled our talent pool.

Which pretty much means I don’t always need to know the answer….

Simon Kidney CEO


Ten (Excellent) Things That Require Zero Talent

  1. Being on time
  2. Work ethic
  3. Effort
  4. Body language
  5. Energy
  6. Attitude
  7. Passion
  8. Being coachable
  9. Doing extra
  10. Being prepared