Investment helps photocopier business modernise for 21st century
Investment from Finance Yorkshire is helping a photocopier specialist that has been trading for more than 25 years modernise for a new era.
East Yorkshire company KRL Group Limited sells and services photocopiers to customers across Yorkshire, the Humber and parts of Lincolnshire and recently underwent a management buyout (MBO).
Business loans totalling £130,000 from Finance Yorkshire, combined with an Invoice Finance facility from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, have helped KRL move on from the MBO by modernising the business while maintaining its regional roots.
Based in Willerby, KRL is the main dealer for Konica Minolta machines and has also recently become a dealer for Ricoh.
KRL managing director George Baker said: "In 2009 my two business partners wanted to sell up but I decided to go it alone. However the recession meant it was the worst time to try and do a MBO and we struggled to get the right finance.
"However, last year we began working with Finance Yorkshire and Lloyds TSB and the help we have had from both of them has been great.
"We had to do a lot of developing to bring what was very much a lifestyle business into the 21st century and Ian Atkinson from Finance Yorkshire helped us bring those systems into play.
"We’ve updated our back-up and disaster recovery strategy, ensured we have the right servers in place to link in with customer networks and a new integrated software system will also improve efficiency of operations both in the office and engineers in the field.
"Many of these new systems will save us money because we will be able to carry out tasks at our headquarters rather than drive out to places, which is a big help in the face of rising fuel costs as well as lost man hours."
The investment will also be used to help KRL explore new markets, expand a Leeds-based office, fund training for engineering, sales and administration staff, as well as assist with stock purchase for the company’s growing sales order book.
Said George: "We appreciated Finance Yorkshire’s people focus. Their representatives came out to see us and took a tour of the building so they understood the whole operation and what we were trying to achieve rather than making a decision while sat behind a desk.
"They didn’t just put money in, they wanted to make sure we were doing all the right things to stay productive and profitable.
"While we have modernised, we want to stay local and keep people’s jobs here. Other companies may have moved operations to London and lost local jobs but we wanted to avoid that.
"Our focus is very much a regional one and the support we have received means we can reinvest to protect the workforce.
"Customer care is very important to us. We don’t want to just sell our customers their first photocopier, we want to sell them their second, third and fourth and service the machines for them, too."
Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Ian Atkinson said: "George Baker and Sales Director Glenn Parrish make a good team and their determination to succeed is obvious.
"They have done a great job in developing the business after taking over the company and, while that may not always have been easy to manage, they have effectively transformed operations.
"With Finance Yorkshire help, KRL is now well placed to bring forward many of its growth plans and advance the company at a faster rate than would have been possible."
Chris Steele, Client Manager from Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance said: "Since September 2010, we have helped support the daily cashflow needs of KRL, by utilising the sales ledger asset of the business.
"In such a short time, an excellent working relationship has developed between both KRL and Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance which, I am confident, will deepen further as time progresses."
Helping a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development, Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m.
The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.
For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or ring 0845 649 0000.
Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire