Group turnover rose to £799.2m (2018: £715.3m) at an increase of 11.7%. Group profit before defined benefit pensions, interest and taxation, and other exceptional items also grew by 5.4% to £27.3m (2018: £25.9m).
Commenting on the results, Unipart Group Chairman and Chief Executive John Neill said:
“We were looking forward to announcing these good results from 2019, and then Covid-19 hit the world. We moved in advance of government advice to firstly implement social distancing and other measures to protect our people and their wellbeing, then our processes and the flow of products and services to our customers.
“We expected to see continued growth in sales and profitability in 2020, and while some of our operations are growing faster than planned, placing great demands on our fellow employees, others have had to be furloughed because our customers have paused production. The board and all the executives reporting directly to me volunteered, without hesitation, to take a 20% percent pay reduction, which has already been implemented.
“We remain confident of the future because of the geographic, sectoral, and customer diversification of our business and, for the foreseeable future, we will be taking the necessary steps to generate cash, conserve cash and reduce costs while continuing to support and invest in those businesses that are growing now and which we expect to continue growing in the future.
NHS Supply Chain
“In 2019, Unipart welcomed approximately 2,000 additional employees when it took over responsibility for the provision of logistics services for the NHS Supply Chain. Unipart is deeply committed to the NHS and we recognise the importance of our role in helping the country battle the threat from Coronavirus. We are immensely proud of all our teams working around the clock, seven days a week, to deliver vital supplies to NHS organisations on the front line.
“One of the critical strengths of our Group is the fact that all our employees are trained in the Unipart Way and can therefore move between our various operations and be immediately effective.
“Recently, more than 100 experienced people from across the Group joined the team providing logistics for the NHS Supply Chain, enabling us to meet the increased demands to deliver critical clinical goods and other essential products at an unprecedented level.
Group-Wide Logistics Operations
“The men and women in our global distribution centres have responded exceptionally well and continue to deliver outstanding customer service, keeping the infrastructure operational for vital services like trains, cars, and mobile communication, as well as books, and paper products (tissues, nappies, continence products and toilet rolls) and receiving plaudits from our customers for doing so. We’re immensely proud of them.”
During 2019, Unipart supported the continuing growth in McLaren Automotive’s aftermarket business by opening a new purpose-designed Global Distribution Centre in the Midlands introducing digital and automation technologies to further enhance the service for McLaren Automotive’s customers.
Unipart also began a long-term partnership with Selco Builders Warehouse running their end-to-end supply chain in the UK from Unipart’s Oxford Distribution Centre.
Hyperbat is Unipart’s joint venture with Williams Advanced Engineering, which has created the capability to manufacture batteries to meet the needs of a wide range of customers with high performance and specialist applications. As the UK’s largest independent vehicle battery manufacturer, Hyperbat last year received a significant funding grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre as part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, recognising its importance to UK battery production.
Batteries are the major technological components of electric vehicles and can account for more than a third of the vehicle’s initial price. Because battery cells degrade over time, batteries need to be removed and might be repaired, repurposed or recycled. Given the increased number of electric vehicle batteries in the market in coming years, Unipart is providing support to world-leading car manufacturers by providing a practical framework for reverse supply chain to divert end-of-life products from landfill disposal to repair, reuse or materials recycling. In 2019, Innovate UK recognised Unipart’s expertise in this area and designated us the leader of Project Detain, a study into the safe storage of electric vehicle batteries.
Unipart Way Communication Cells
Unipart’s investment in digital has been very successful with many of the pilot projects scaling up and delivering significant strategic and commercial benefits across the Group. An example is the multi-million-pound investment in digitising Unipart communication cells, which for decades have formed a critical part of the daily activities of every department, business unit, and operating company throughout the world. This has become even more critical during this current pandemic. It allows management at every level to access shop floor operations anywhere in the world, at any time. It truly transforms the management and coaching process for a digital age.
The Unipart Digital Enterprise System
The Unipart Digital Enterprise System is built on a modern, flexible code base, and enables Unipart to on-board new customers in days, and also provides more complex and sophisticated solutions for blue-chip clients like McLaren and one of Unipart Logistics’ NHS contracts. This provides a strong addition to our global, scalable, industrial strength Unipart Business System servicing our large global clients.
MetLase, the Group’s joint venture with Rolls-Royce, secured several new contracts to supply tooling and fixturing solutions for one of the world’s largest aerospace manufacturers. MetLase is using its 3D design capabilities, high precision laser-cutting technology and patented assembly and joining systems to create lightweight and optimised machining fixtures. MetLase was one of the first companies to respond to the government’s ventilator challenge and are currently actively involved with others in supporting local manufacturing.
In the rail sector, routine maintenance is both critical and expensive. The Group’s data analytics product, Paradigm Insight, enables our customers to monitor trains and their assets, using high volumes of data to provide critical insight to avoid expensive failures and improve efficiency. During 2019, the Group was awarded a condition monitoring contract for Freightliner’s largest locomotive fleet after a successful trial with South Western Railways.
Unipart Rail won contract extensions and renewals with several train operators including East Midlands Trains, Stadler for Merseyrail, South Eastern Railway, Keolis Amey for Transport for Wales and Northern Rail, and extended its work with contractors such as Atkins, Fenix and Linbrooke. It also won consultancy contracts with Singapore Mass Rapid Transit, and with Mantena in Norway.
Unipart Rail also acquired Westcode, a manufacturer based in both the UK and USA providing Unipart with direct access to the US markets.
- Carbon Emissions down 25%
- Water usage down 24%
- Single use plastic down 29 tons
- 55 Swords of Honour for Safety since 2011
In 2019, Unipart extended its contract with Vodafone in a partnership which now spans over 25 years. As part of that extension, Unipart will deliver significant transformation, including the adoption of new digital technology and automation for Vodafone.
Sustainability is an important part of the relationship. For instance, working with Vodafone, Unipart implemented a new premium delivery box. This removed the plastic delivery bag, improved the customer experience and eliminated 19 tonnes of single-use plastic. In 2020, Unipart will box all Vodafone products for delivery through automated boxing which will remove a further 20 tonnes of plastic from the supply chain.
Unipart has also worked closely with long-term customer, Sky, on removing almost all single-use plastic from the Sky supply chain.
Additionally, in Unipart’s automotive packing operation, the reduction, elimination and reuse of plastic packaging resulted in a reduction of over 10 tonnes of plastic waste during the year.
Unipart’s environmental achievements were recognised by the award of a British Safety Council Globe of Honour awarded for environmental excellence. In 2019, carbon emissions have been reduced by 28% year on year. Unipart removed 73% of avoidable single use plastics from logistics operations, and water use reduced by 24%.
The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (“AME”), Unipart’s joint venture with Coventry University celebrated its sixth year of undergraduate training with the award of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, the highest national honour awarded in UK further and higher education. Unipart also won The Princess Royal Training Award for workplace learning, celebrating exceptional training and development programmes across the country.
The British Safety Council’s International Safety Award is one of the most prestigious in the industry. Unipart was one of an elite group of companies globally to receive distinctions for setting world-class approaches to health and safety in the transport and logistics sector. The Group received two Swords of Honour and is the only company in its sector to achieve a total of 55 Swords of Honour since 2011. The awards emphasise the importance Unipart places on health, safety and environmental management across its global operations.Open modal