Background: Founded back in 1923, initially as a grain manufacturer and animal feed business, Inspired Pet Nutrition (IPN) launched its first pet food range in the 1980s. From its site in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, the business now produces three of the UK’s most recognised pet food brands: Harringtons, Wagg and, most recently, Nineteen 87.
With a focus on dog, cat and small animal food, family-owned IPN has won numerous awards, including most innovative business, and has seen significant levels of growth, reaching 14–15% annually in recent years. Further investment in automation and category innovation would support IPN’s aim to reach £120m turnover within three years.
The challenge: Following an injection of private equity investment in 2015, IPN’s banking relationship was at a crossroads. A banking review was carried out to ensure the business had both the strategic and day-to-day banking support for its new growth plans.
Having been with the same bank for many years, IPN was a cautious switcher. Finance Director Anthony Stones explains what the business was looking for: “As we positioned ourselves for what was likely to be a step change in the business – investing in new premises, adding new lines and taking on new staff – we needed a straightforward, easy cash management solution that would offer us increased efficiency.”
Operating overseas as well as in the UK, IPN also needed a bank that could support that. “We have a number of accounts (around 10–11) across multiple entities and in different currencies, so we needed a bank that was capable of transferring and managing those too,” says Anthony
The solutions: “IPN is clearly a business that’s going places and we could see that our cash management solutions would be able to deliver the efficiencies that would make its life easier and save it money. As a first-time switcher, and with just a small finance team, the business was naturally very cautious about the amount of time and effort transferring their accounts would take. We worked closely with them to make it as easy as possible,” says Craig Wilson, Senior Cash Management Consultant at HSBC.
“Despite our reservations, the switch to HSBC was pain-free and seamless,” agrees Anthony. “The team provided a lot of support on the administration and paperwork, which made it very straightforward and much less time-consuming than we had anticipated.”
The introduction of HSBCnet has also brought significant benefits for IPN. “HSBCnet supports every element of our cash management needs,” explains Anthony. “Having an online platform gives us both visibility of our accounts, even those not with HSBC, and complete control. Speed of resolution is impressive and the fact that we have a dedicated cash management manager means that all elements are handled in the most efficient manner possible.
“The HSBC team works closely with us and has provided a number of training courses to help us maximise the benefits of the system. They are proactive and responsive and, as a business, we feel like we matter to them.”
The process: A deep understanding of IPN’s plans for the future, as well as its day-to-day needs, has seen the relationship between the business and HSBC go from strength to strength. “They know that we’re a growing business with a heavy cap-ex programme to support that growth,” says Anthony. “And they are very accommodating and supportive of those plans.”
With increased efficiency vital to underpinning that growth, Anthony remarks that HSBC are “better than the average bank. “They tick all the boxes for us,” he concludes.