Helping firms stay lean and fit to compete

DURING times of austerity, lean is beautiful.

Four Yorkshire entrepreneurs are helping businesses across Britain to keep an eye on costs, as the country continues on a slow, painful crawl away from the worst economic slump in decades.

The Orchard Group, which recently put down roots in Elland, West Yorkshire, after acquiring a former restaurant building as its new UK headquarters, has three divisions, which target key areas of corporate expenditure.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Group MD Gareth Henderson, 35, said the firm’s energy management consultancy Orchard Energy had seen significant growth, particularly since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, as businesses look for ways of reducing costs.

“It’s no secret that cost cutting is very much on the agenda for most firms and we have seen demand rise significantly for both purchasing and efficiency advice,” said Mr Henderson.

Orchard Energy’s associate director Amar Hussain, 38, said the firm had received a large number of enquiries about energy purchasing.

Justin Holley, 40, of the group’s waste management division Orchard Environmental Services, said increased regulation was another factor driving organisations to seek specialist advice.

“This is particularly true in relation to waste where legislation aimed at encouraging greener business practices is resulting in some hefty fines for those who don’t comply,” he said.

Neil Ewing, the 36-year-old technical director of the group’s IT support and cloud computing business Orchard Networks, said technology is another area where costs can grow if businesses don’t operate strategic system planning, protect themselves against data loss or have fast access to technical support.

Orchard Energy outgrew its previous headquarters in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. It has regional offices in Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol.