Archive for June, 2015

Tescos. The worst supermarket for suppliers

See here

In fairness, Morrisons and Iceland came off only very slightly worse but as highlighted before the budget German chains Lidl and Aldi were rated relatively highly. Aldi best of all and that in itself enabled me to easily find financing for a supplier to the chain. This is something that lenders certainly take note of

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Greek exit

The consequences of Greek exit have been much discussed  and certainly in the short term things look bleak for this extraordinarily badly run economy, but what are the longer term consequences on a wider scale?

One aspect that hasn’t often been highlighted is the loss of credibility of a left wing administration that refuses to look at the books. Rhetoric is fine but the actions have failed. Certainly they and others will blame the creditors but an observer would have to be very one eyed not to have a distinctly unimpressive opinion of their actions to date

Secondly it brings home once and for all the failed concept of the euro. This will reverberate and will surely set back intended integration for some time to come. In simple terms the eu has simply not been able to manage its own affairs

Thirdly voters across Europe will have an increasingly doubtful view of the “project”.  This will resonate

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Cant manage? Won’t manage?

According to this study poor management skills are “holding back Uk SME’s”.

How true is this? Despite the decent level of current level of growth in the UK, productivity figures remain alarmingly poor and whilst investment in equipment is cited, could simple poor management be key?

I would say yes. In my career I fortunate to be sent on superb courses run by the now defunct Industrial Society. They were concise and extremely valuable. The basic principles of man management remained with me and helped enormously at what was a relatively young age

A lot of time, money and resources are wasted by underemployed and demotivated staff. Because it is not something which can be simply and easily directly measured, the value is frequently underestimated.

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London Garden Bridge. No thanks

Safari One of London’s many great strengths is the constant evolving cityscape. It is a city which can preserve its heritage whilst throwing up some great architecture. The city is neither a museum or cold functional metropolis. Genuine great buildings such as the Shard and the Leadenhall Building are world class additions as is the continuing wonderful development of the whole south bank.

Which brings us neatly to the “Garden Bridge” so beloved of certain celebrities and Boris Johnson. Above is what might be described as a sympathetic artists impression of the ridiculous structure. My view is that it will look quite weirdly out of place and frankly will also ruin one of the world’s great views

The fact is that it will look just like a bridge which has been left to fester and overgrow. Bridges can be beautiful structures as anyone who has seen the Golden Gate, the Forth Rail or the millenium bridge will testify. But to my mind and overgrown bridge is as logical and as charming as a concreted over garden

Furthermore it will be right bang in the middle of one of the worlds great views. That from Waterloo bridge to the city. Also as one perceptive architect pointed out, the Thames is not the seine or Venice. Its a very tidal cold and powerful river which is not easily prettified this far upstream. Or to put it another way. This just looks all wrong

The argument about green space is also completely daft. London is by some distance the greenest major city in the world and in europe only in my experience does Hamburg come close

Money was due to be thrown at this folly but thankfully it would appear that it has just been voted down. I hope this is the end of the story and not just because of the given reason that its a laughable waste of tax payers money on a “transport project” that will not improve transport

Boris Johnson and friends should have the guts now to ditch this immediately

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Invoice financing. Shake up or ship out?

83036445Recently I frankly told a lender that they and more specifically their underwriters, were “like a boxer that has had too many fights and remembers every blow. You should get out of the industry”

Aggressive I know but then again my loyalty is to my clients. Not the banks

It was born of frustration at the shoddy nature of much underwriting in the industry. Shoddy because too often it is based on myths and mantras which circulate around an incestuous industry and have little bearing on genuine credit assessment. I could give examples but maybe it is suffice to say that similar decisions taken in the real commercial world of credit management would result in dismissal. Rightly so

The industry has a tendency to be just a little too cosy. My clients are not in the slightest bit interested in who has moved where and who plays golf with who. They want a solution

Too often this solution is not forthcoming for the most tenuous of reasons. The problem is that lenders too often find it difficult to look beyond a obscure term rather than understand a business as a whole

So what is the result of all this?

Fortunately lenders are not homogenous and there are worthy exceptions. In fact each has its own quirks and criteria and a handful do stand out in their ability to look at a proposal

But not enough. The real challenge for the industry is the alternative providers. As their strength grows and their offerings improve, they will continue to steal a march.

The reason for this is that they are prepared to think afresh and have often studiously avoided the established industry and are thus looking at credit in a constructive manner rather than with a shaking hand. For instance a client of mine was rejected because their client was a “problem nine years ago” An old punchdrunk time server brings with them nothing but tired “experience”

Let this continue and the industry will have a very different look about it in five years time. The industry needs to adapt quickly to the new lenders and needs to ship out a lot of the dead wood quickly

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