Page 1

ISSUE 19 • June 2012


Fife Business Awards Open for Nominations

Local Business Success Stories

Making it in Fife Fife’s manufacturing sector is one of the economy’s real success stories


Fife Renewables Innovation Centre is a prestigious new building in Methil, forming part of the Energy Park Fife, a state of the art business centre with conference and meeting room facilities in a building with excellent green credentials. Businesses will have quick and easy access to superb, practical business support including access to business advisors from Business Gateway Fife and partner organisations. Rents are highly competitive, with incentives for new tenants and a range of office sizes are available, with leases ideally suited to businesses that require flexibility and want to minimise their overheads.

For more information contact

0845 600 1359

Office space ranging from 16sqm to 205sqm

Easy access and ample parking

Less than 10 minutes to the A92 and less than 10 minutes to Markinch Station by car

Edinburgh Airport and the City of Edinburgh are just 45 minutes by car

High Speed Broadband

Conference and exhibition facilities

A development by

Renewables Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Ajax Way, Methil, Fife

Contents P4: Making it in Fife - The future looks bright for Fife’s manufacturing sector P7: Business news P9: Revolutionary concept in house design P12: Business news


P13: Sporting entrepreneur’s ambition to create Cupar’s first SPL team

to Fife Business Matters

P14: Remploy’s lifejacket designed for disabled people

Manufacturing has always been a significant part of Fife’s economy, yet somehow the Kingdom is not readily recognised as a place in which things are made. It should be, and this issue of Fife Business Matters sets out to highlight the ongoing development of the manufacturing sector in Fife and to highlight some of the many companies who are, in the words of our main headline, Making it in Fife. These may be challenging times for Fife businesses, but they are also times of great opportunity, and this issue looks at just some of the firms that are looking forward to the future with a degree of confidence one might not expect to see during an economic downturn. Major companies such as Diageo, Babcock, FMC Technologies, Rolls-Royce and BiFab are among those that truly are Making it in Fife. But it’s not just the big-hitters that are doing well. Throughout the Kingdom there is a myriad of smaller enterprises, making everything from chutney to wooden pens, that are Making it in Fife. This issue is not solely about manufacturing, however. Fife has a diverse economy, and we reflect that diversity by reporting on, for example, a company that organises sports tours and a business that provides luxury self-catering holidays. Fife business matters – and, we like to think, yields a great mix of good-news stories. Chris Parr, Chairman, Fife Economy Partnership

P15: Twenty five years of the Scott Group

Publisher: D-Tech Graphic Design and Print Ltd Fife Business Matters is published by D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Limited on behalf of the Fife Economy Partnership. This publication is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed wholly or in part without the written permission of the publishers. The proprietors of this magazine are publishers and not agents or sub-agents of those who advertise therein. The publishers cannot be held liable for any loss suffered as a result of information gained from this publication. The views expressed by the authors or articles published in this magazine are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of or shared by the editor, nor the publisher or the directors, shareholders and/or employees of D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Limited

P17: Advice on exporting P18: New factory and jobs for Fife from fish farmer Meridian P21: Business news P22: Fife Business Awards P26: The latest from the Federation of Small Businesses P27: Fife Chamber of Commerce’s priorities P29: The latest from Business Gateway P33: FBM meets Debbie Leishman of MGt P34: Events diary

Fife Business Matters is published on behalf of the Fife Economy Partnership. To send us your stories or request a copy email: To advertise Telephone 01389 736000 email:


Making it in Fife


The future looks bright for Fife’s manufacturing sector


hink of Scotland's manufacturing hotspots and Fife may not immediately spring to mind. However, the emergence of a plethora of new businesses and the transformation of a number of existing ones give lie to the perception that Fife is something of a manufacturing backwater. As Jerome Finlayson, of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, told FBM: “There is no doubt that Fife is rapidly emerging as a major centre for new and exciting manufacturing industries. Businesses in Fife are taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist for growth in high-end manufacturing in, for example, renewables and existing oil and gas markets.” Babcock, FMC Technologies, Diageo, BiFab, Rolls-Royce Marine, Raytheon … the list of blue-chip companies making it in Fife is impressive and Jerome Finlayson says there is no reason why it will not continue to grow. He explained: “There is a great sense of cohesion in Fife, with companies, education providers, the local authority and other public-sector agencies pulling together towards a common good. The infrastructure for businesses to develop and grow is being developed, and there's every reason to believe the future is bright for companies in Fife with ambition to innovate and adapt.” The importance of manufacturing to Fife’s economy cannot be underestimated. It provides around 18,500 jobs, representing 10.8% of total employment, and its continued growth is seen as essential to ensure sustained economic recovery. A manufacturing focus group, hosted in March by Fife Council Enterprise, Planning and Protective Services to provide a platform to explore issues, showed there was a real desire among business leaders to make things happen for a better, secure future

for manufacturing in Fife. Comprising 12 senior representatives of local manufacturing companies and representatives from Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway Fife and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, the group identified a number of key issues facing the sector, such as: •

Uncertainty about the economic situation making planning and investment decisions difficult

General concern regarding the quality and availability of skilled labour

Increasing transport and energy costs

Increasing competition from both within and outwith the UK

The need for simplified access to help and support services.

Based on feedback from the session, Enterprise, Planning and Protective Services developed an operational action plan outlining activity to address some of these challenges. Pamela Stevenson, Lead Officer – Enterprise and Business Development with Fife Council Economic Development Team, said: “The manufacturing forum sessions aim to tackle some of the areas identified by manufacturing companies in Fife that are seen as constraints to maximising business opportunities.” Meanwhile, Fife can take heart from recent national findings. A report in March by the CBI showed that 24% of manufacturing firms in the UK expected output to rise over the next quarter, while Scottish Engineering Quarterly Review, prepared in conjunction with Dunfermlinebased M&C Energy, showed clear signs for optimism in that sector. Also issued in

March, the review showed that there had been seven positive quarters out of the past eight for the engineering manufacturing sector. Pamela Stevenson added: “There are encouraging signs nationally, and there is no reason to believe why manufacturing businesses in Fife should not aspire to lead the way in what remains a difficult economic environment.” Fife’s manufacturing sector contracted considerably during the 1980s, when Fife shifted from a manufacturing-based economy to a services based one. However, Fife still has an over-representation of employment in manufacturing, compared with the Scottish average, which means that the area can still boast a competitive advantage over these sectors should activity pick up. Not only is Fife’s manufacturing sector generating a significant level of turnover (£2,856 million in 2011), but it is still also a major source of employment. Given the strategic direction towards growing a renewables energy sector in Fife, maintaining a focus on supporting business development and support for Fife’s manufacturers could reap dividends in the coming decade. But hope for Fife’s manufacturing sector does not rest solely with growth high-end markets. As Pamela Stevenson told FBM: “Last year there were hundreds of manufacturing enterprises in Fife. Their success is vital to Fife’s economic success – and we are determined to give them whatever support we can to help them sustain and flourish.”


Manufacturing a bright future


he chief executive of Scottish Engineering, which supports the country’s manufacturing engineering sector, has spoken of the part many companies in Fife are playing in helping to pull the UK out of the recession. Dr Peter Hughes told FBM: “Having lived and worked in Fife for 20 years, I am delighted to maintain my links with the numerous engineering manufacturing companies who continue to prosper in the Kingdom. “It is great to see the new aircraft carrier being constructed at Babcock Marine Rosyth, the offshore structures being produced by Burntisland Fabrications and the fantastic sub-sea products manufactured by FMC Technologies in Dunfermline. “Too often the public are unaware of the full range and extent of engineering operations in Fife, and they are surprised to learn that the vehicle collecting their wheelie bins is produced by HEIL Europe at Dalgety Bay. 6

“They are also surprised to know that the metallic paint on their car was probably produced by Siberline in Leven, or that the copper boiler in their central heating system came from McDonald Engineers in Glenrothes. “Indeed, there is so much engineering going on in Fife that we cannot possibly cover them all, but just remember we have Fife Fabrications, Fife Joinery, FTV Proclad, Brand-Rex, Bosch Rexroth, Sandusky and Raytheon all operating out of Glenrothes, not to mention Lamond and Murray, Pfaudler-Balfour, Rolls-Royce Motion Control, Ingenico and many more, too numerous to mention, operating elsewhere in Fife.” He added: “To date, the engineering manufacturing sector is helping to pull the United Kingom out of the recession and the many companies operating in Fife are certainly playing their part in that role.”

Firm picks Fife over US and China for £1m investment More than 90 jobs at a Lochgelly factory have been safeguarded following a £1 million investment.

Young business grows

The cash will fund the development of a new production line for global network infrastructure manufacturer CommScope. The line will see the company manufacture three different sizes of aluminium cable in parallel with its existing production of copper cabling for the telecoms and wireless communications market. The Fife factory was chosen over CommScope's US and Chinese facilities for the investment, which includes a £275,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise. Scotland's Finance Secretary, John Swinney, said: “The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working hard to retain Scotland's position as the most competitive environment to do business in the UK. “CommScope's decision to invest £1 million in Fife to expand and diversify their operations is testament to its quality workforce and the excellent support the company has received from Scottish Enterprise. “Scotland has a reputation for excellence in innovation and engineering and I am delighted this global manufacturer chose Fife over fierce competition from overseas.” CommScope Site Manager David Dryburgh said: “The funding from Scottish Enterprise has really made everything possible for us. Its new streamlined approach to access funding from three different grants has enabled us to secure investment from our parent company and ultimately secure our future at our facility in Lochgelly”.

YOUNG AT HEART: The team behind the Dalgety Bay business

From humble beginnings, Dalgety Bay-based Young Joinery has seen its business soar in four years.


aul Young had a single van and one member of staff when he launched the business in 2007. Now he has a fleet of 12 vans and a 20-strong taskforce. Supported by wife Angela, who manages the business’ office-based activities, Paul and his team deliver projects ranging from installing new kitchens and decking in homes through to large commercial projects. Paul said: “Since we launched, hardly a week has gone by where we haven’t had a full week and we have been really busy, which is great. However, we do see signs that, like a lot of people, this year will be more challenging and we are adapting to that by keeping our costs leaner and working really hard to secure new business. We’ve also recently introduced accepting most debit and credit cards giving our customers more options on how they can pay for their home improvements.”

Angela understands the importance of marketing and has worked to develop their website to appeal to private and commercial potential customers. The business uses customer testimonials through videos and promotes its membership of bodies such as Fife Trusted Traders, Business Network International and the Federation of Master Builders. In order to continue its success story, Angela says it is important to have a mix of both commercial and private customers. It has already secured a number of significant commercial contracts including work with VisitScotland and hopes to grow this side of the business.


CONTRACT WIN: The RB Grant team

Email alert paved way for school contract win A Fife electrical firm is being cited as an example of a business that’s won a public-sector contract through Public Contracts Scotland. RB Grant is one of 20 SMEs to have won part of more than £1.2 million worth of contracts for the refurbishment of Ceres Primary School. The firm did so using the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) portal, which issues email alerts to relevant contract opportunities. Its success in securing a £74,000 contract to supply electrical, fire alarms and communications installations at the school has been featured as a case study on the PCS website. Ronnie Grant, Marketing Manager of RB Grant, is quoted on the website as saying: “Public Contracts Scotland has been a means of expanding our reach across Scotland by opening doors to contract opportunities with local authorities we may not otherwise have been aware of. “Having all public-sector contracts in one place makes the PCS alerts an extremely useful tool. When the alert came up for the Ceres Primary contract, we decided to go for it as it was a local opportunity and fitted our expertise and experience. “We’re very proud to have a good working relationship with Fife Council and other local authorities and hope to continue to be a supplier of choice by winning contracts through PCS.” Colin Sneddon, of Fife Council Building Services, said: “With over 20 contracts involved for this one site, PCS was a vital and helpful tool for the tendering process. “RB Grant is the right company for this project; their flexibility and proactive attitude will prove to be a credit to the completed building.”


Moving up the gears


he managing director of long-established Inverkeithing gear manufacturer Lamond & Murray says he is convinced that support from the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) has brought “significant” improvements to his business. Alastair Lamond told FBM that his firm’s involvement with SMAS’ 5S programme, which is aimed at helping to ensure that workplaces are run to maximum efficiency, had made a marked difference to the way the operation is run. “It is hard to quantify the benefits but I am sure it is yielding significant efficiencies, of around10-15%,” he said. The 5S (sort, set, shine, standardise and sustain) programme has involved the SMAS giving advice on all aspects of the workplace’s day-to-day running. Mr Lamond said: “We have a low labour turnover and so we appreciated getting professional advice from outside.” Established in 1919, Lamond & Murray originally serviced the coal mining industry but its client base is now largely in the oil and gas sector. The firm, which has 32 employees and which turned over around £3.7 million last year, is now looking at opportunities to expand into the renewables market, supporting companies which manufacture or refurbish wind turbine gearboxes.

The Passive House – active for more comfort

A major conference is to be held in Dunfermline in September to showcase a revolutionary concept in house design.


he first Scottish Passive House Conference is being organised to raise awareness of an innovative concept in which buildings are designed and constructed to ensure maximum comfort with minimum energy consumption. Among those behind the event, to be staged in the Carnegie Conference Centre, is the Scottish Passive House Centre (SPHC), a Fife business which is spreading the Passive House message throughout the UK. Established in November 2009, Rosythbased SPHC is on a mission to promote the Passive House concept to a wide range of professionals, from architects to housing providers. It's already been doing so in Fife, as one of the companies whose work is on show at an Housing Innovation Showcase in Dunlin Drive, Dunfermline. There, Kingdom Housing Association is working with 10 separate companies to build 27 new homes, each one using a range of non-traditional methods. With the aim of allowing housebuilders to demonstrate how they can meet Kingdom Housing Association's design standards using innovative building methods, the project is being seen by SPHC as an ideal way to

demonstrate the benefits of the Passive House concept. SPHC has already worked with the association, having worked with Dunfermline architects Oliver & Robb to deliver a Passive House in Pittenweem, and the concept is being used in four three-bedroom homes being built in Inchkeith Drive, Dunfermline, by Essex-based firm Beattie Passive for Fife Housing Association. Originating in Germany some 20 years ago, Passive House is a construction standard for energy-efficient buildings which take a holistic approach to design. The shape and alignment of the building and the use of triple-glazed windows, a heat exchanger with mechanical ventilation, low-energy fittings and appliances and a super-insulated, airtight building fabric with no thermal bridging combine to produce a building which is both energy-efficient and has a good indoor climate.

concept has huge potential, as Projects Manager Steff Bell explained: “Passive Houses have no dedicated central heating systems and no radiators and yet maintain a constant 20 degrees centigrade internal temperature, whatever the weather, he said. That means no freezing pipes in winter. “On average, it costs 10-15% more to build a Passive House than one using conventional methods, yet yields an 80% saving on electricity and hot water costs. “That makes it particularly attractive to, for example, housing associations, who are looking to provide high levels of comfort coupled with low energy use.”

SPHC, which does consultancy and design work as well as providing certification for Passive House Buildings, believes the


R.B. Grant

Lennoxlove House

Electrical Contractors


St Andrews tel: 01334

850382 Kirkcaldy tel: 01592 654553 mobile tel: 07957438638

w w w. r b g r a nt .c o.u k

We invite you to enjoy our hospitality in this exceptional and historically significant House just 20 miles from Edinburgh. Lennoxlove House is perfect for a short break, a wedding reception, a corporate event, a golfing weekend or even as a retreat to simply get away from it all and spend some time together catching up with friends and family. The luxurious, private accommodation, which has

11 bedrooms for you and your guests to enjoy, blends state-of-the-art facilities with centuries old architectural features. Coupled with interior design courtesy of John Fowler of Colefax and Fowler, your very own butler’s pantry and helicopter landing facilities are just some of the touches that make Lennoxlove House one of the most exclusive and unique places in which you will ever stay in Scotland.

Lennoxlove Estate Office, Haddington, East Lothian EH41 4NZ, Scotland Tel: 01620 828619 Fax: 01620 825112

Why pay sky high prices for Airport parking?

Park your car for free and travel on the JET 747 direct bus service from Ferrytoll Park & Ride to Edinburgh Airport. £4.90 day return £8.75 open return brought to you by

Sean Brown Plumbing and Heating Ltd is an established small company based in the Fife area where the personal Heating Installations touch is the main focus on the work Renewable Energy we carry out. We cover all parts Bathroom Installations of Fife, the Lothians, Tayside and Plumbing Services Central Scotland, and if required by our customers we will travel further to ensure our customers receive the highest standard of work.

20 Sauchenbush Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife, KY2 5RL Mobile: 07739 15 15 05 • Phone: 01592 263 544

Door Automation (Scotland) Ltd Unit 10, Midfield Drive Dunnikier Business Park Kirkcaldy KY1 3LW Free phone: 0800 11 20 280 24 hour: 0750 3000 500


Seahawk Clothing specialise in custom-made performance wear for today’s climate.

We have an extensive range of fabrics and designs in our library, over 240 designs. From a simple coverall to a high specification Flame Retardant Anti Static outfit, a Motor Cyclists Over Jacket to a simple but very necessary respirator pouch.

Seahawk Clothing Ltd. Unit 6 Woodgate Way South Eastfield Industrial Estate Glenrothes, Fife KY7 4PF

We work with Polyester Cottons, P.U.Coated Breathable fabrics, Breathable Laminated fabrics, Fire Retardant fabrics, Fire Retardant Anti Static Fabrics, Nomex and many others depending on the customers requirements.

Tel: 01592 630450 Fax: 01592 630444 Email:

Diageo unveil £150m plans for bonded warehouse Plans have been unveiled for a major development in Kirkcaldy by drinks giant Diageo. The company plans to build a £150 million bonded warehouse which could create 200 long-term construction jobs and around 40 operational posts.

Holiday firm expands HOMES BUSINESS: Eilidh at the Morton of Pitmilly holiday homes

Richard Bedford, Diageo’s Grain Distilling Director, said: “We believe our proposal for warehousing at Begg Farm, with its close proximity to Cameronbridge distillery and Leven packaging plant, offers a fantastic opportunity to create a highly effective and efficient hub for the production, maturation and bottling of Scotch whisky. “This would also represent a significant investment in the Fife economy, building on the major investments Diageo has already made to expand Cameronbridge and Leven, creating new direct and indirect employment in the area. “We are already engaging locally on the detail of our proposals and we will submit our full planning application to Fife Council.” Diageo already employs 1200 people in Fife and is spending £100 million to upgrade its Cameronbridge distillery and a further £86 million on its bottling plant in Leven.



firm which offers luxury selfcatering holidays at Kingsbarns, near St Andrews, has put its recent expansion down to the rise of the ‘staycation’, a growing awareness of environmental matters and a high focus on customer service. Morton of Pitmilly, which was established in 1990, has opened six new holiday houses to add to the 10 houses in a courtyard converted from farm buildings 22 years ago. The firm has also developed a range of new facilities for its customers. In the past 18 months it has added an indoor tennis court, beauty therapy rooms and gym facility. Other facilities include an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, outdoor tennis court, putting green, children’s play area and golf practice and football areas. Eilidh Smith, a partner in the business, said: “We believe we have found the right formula for growth. We have a 75 per cent repeat business rate, which I think speaks volumes, and 20 per cent of our customers came to us through recommendation.

Other than our website, we have hardly had to advertise, and yet we are continuing to grow.” The family business is based on a 150acre farm, 100 acres of which are used for agriculture. Since the company diversified into the holiday business it has planted around 10,000 hardwood trees and created around five miles of nature trails. Eilidh said: “Our customers appreciate the fact that this is very much a green, rural business. And we are finding that with the exchange rate as it is, we are benefiting from the staycation phenomenon; 90 per cent of our customers are from Scotland and most live within a 90-mile radius.” The company – which reported a turnover of £350,000 in 2011 and which has set a target of reaching the £1 million turnover mark by 2017 – was recognised as the Best Tourism Business at the 2010 Fife Business Awards.

WINNER: Stephen Westwood presents Roy Davies with his IoD Award

COACHING SESSION: Austin MacPhee in action

Roy Davis wins IoD award The chief executive of Dunfermlinebased retinal imaging company Optos plc was named ‘Fife and Central Scotland Regional Director of the Year’ at the annual Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland Awards, held in Glasgow in March. Roy Davis, who joined the company in 2008, said: “I am highly honoured and pleased to win the award and it is a testament to the efforts of our employees that the company has continued to grow and succeed, even in challenging times.”  IoD Scotland Executive Director David Watt said: “The financial performance and expansion plans of Optos show Roy Davis as an exceptional business leader. The development of new products and the company’s introduction to new global markets, reducing the reliance on the US, are significant and has boosted performance.”

Austin’s goal: Cupar’s first SPL team


t the tender age of 32, Austin MacPhee is set to record an annual turnover of £1 million for his football tours company, AMsportstours. Started in his mum’s kitchen with a grant from the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust in 2006, AMsportstours now employs six full-time and 22 part-time members of staff. And now he is set to achieve the £1 million turnover milestone, Austin has his sights on a long-term ambition of building Cupar’s first SPL football club. Austin said: “As a town of 12,000, to me it seems perfectly plausible we could have our very own football team.” An off-shoot of AMsportstours is AMsoccer – a not-for-profit organisation which develops the footballing talent of over 500 Fife youngsters. The school prepares children for the likes of Dundee United and their training programme is recognised by the SFA as one using standards of best practice. A key event for Austin was three of AMsoccer's young players being asked to train with FC Barcelona. Austin, who was a professional footballer before a significant knee injury forced him into retirement six years ago, got a scholarship to play in the US, where he also studied for a degree in psychology

and English before moving to play in Romania and then onto Japan. He moved home after his knee injury and established AMsportstours. AMsportstours boasts clients such as the Houston Dynamos and the UAE women’s national teams. Austin and his staff organise for the teams to tour different countries, visiting stadiums, playing teams and offering training. Since its launch, the company has doubled in size every year and Austin has secured Shell and RBS business awards. Austin was recently shortlisted for two Institute of Directors’ awards in the emerging director and Fife and Central Scotland regional director categories. As well as football tours, AMsportstours organises tours for other sports as well as a football festival for St Andrews which attracts around 3000 people. Outside of the AMsportstours’ banner, Austin also does match analysis for St Mirren and was the youngest manager to lead a team out at Hampden with Cupar Hearts in 2007.


Remploy’s all aboard with ace yachtsman


record-breaking disabled yachtsman has been working with Remploy's factory in Leven to help co-design a lifejacket for people with disabilities. Geoff Holt, the first disabled person to sail across the Atlantic unassisted, wants to inspire people with disabilities to experience sailing. The veteran sailor has launched Wetwheels, the first-ever wheelchairaccessible power boat. The vessel is modified with a side-opening door, a raised helming position an various wheelchair tie-down points, and state-of-the-art electronics. But sailors need lifejackets – and that's where Remploy, a leading employer of disabled people, comes in.


Geoff approached the company when he realised that they were already making topquality, industry-recognised Kru lifejackets and were experts in their field. Thirty Remploy staff were subsequently lined up to manufacture the final approved product at the Leven factory on Banbeath Industrial Estate. Jamie Lawson, Remploy's Textiles, Group Operations and Marine Sales Manager, said: “Remploy is delighted to offer expertise on this project and we are honoured that Geoff has chosen us as industry leaders.” The jacket will be more buoyant than ordinary lifejackets and weighted so as to pull its wearer on his or her back on impact with the water. Geoff, from Southampton, was left quadriplegic following a swimming accident in 1984 but that hasn't stopped him breaking two world records, receiving an MBE for services to disabled sailing and being honoured with the Yachtsman of the Year award. He said: “I'm absolutely delighted to be working with Remploy on the journey to fulfilling my vision. It is a perfect synergy, people with disabilities working towards making the lives of people with disabilities even better.” A successful in-water trial took place before Easter after which Geoff, who was happy with the results, worked with Remploy on some minor modifications.

Fife factories saved from axe


employ's two Fife operations, in Leven and Cowdenbeath, were saved from the axe following major cuts in the company's national workforce in March. An independent review had recommended that government funding should be used to maximise support for disabled people rather than subsidise organisations such as Remploy. That prompted concerns that Remploy's Fife operations might be under threat. However, although 36 of the firm's 54 factories were earmarked for closure, the Remploy board decided to keep the Leven and Cowdenbeath operations. The Leven factory manufactures lifejackets and marine wear, and employs 30 people, of whom 29 are disabled. The Cowdenbeath factory manufactures chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protection suits for military and civilian services. It employs 35 people, all of whom are disabled. Both operations are part of Remploy's Textile group, which the firm's board believed could be commercially viable without government subsidy.

Scott Group seals twin deals Left to right - Kevin McNeilly (director of reconditioned operations at Scott Pallets), Tommy Ralph, Billy McNamara, Alan Gibson (managing director Scott Pallets and Scott Packaging) and Brian Williams.


cott Pallets, a division of Dunfermlinebased industrial supplies organisation Scott Group, has acquired two Manchester-based pallet businesses, Williams Pallet Services Ltd and Specrite Pallets Ltd. Alan Gibson, Managing Director of Scott Pallets & Scott Packaging, said: "Strategically, this is another key development for Scott Pallets, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to serving local industry across the UK. We now have a strong foothold in the Manchester area to ensure we are providing the best possible service to our customers in the North West." From small beginnings, in a family run sawmill with four members of staff, the Scott Group has risen to become one of the UK’s major business success stories with over 1,000 employees and an annual turnover of £120million. It is the UK's market leading and largest pallet supplier, the fastest growing packaging provider and a leading supplier of trade supplies such as tools, work wear and corporate clothing. The Group has grown and diversified considerably since its inception in 1987 through a total of 34 strategic acquisitions and organic growth across the whole of the UK and into Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The Scott Group believes in a sustainable market and managing resources responsibly. To this end, it is committed to the sustainable application of pallets and transit packaging throughout the supply chain. Scott Pallets is one of the few pallet and packaging producers in the UK to be FSC certified which means the timber products are manufactured from responsibly harvested and verified sources. With over 30 manufacturing and distribution sites across the UK, the Scott Group has established a geographical network. This logistic advantage also extends into Europe where it has a plant in the Port of Riga in Latvia. From there it deals directly with over 200 sawmills, manufactures and supplies mainland Europe and ships over 8,000 cubic metres of timber a month to the UK, making them the UK’s largest importer of pallet and packaging material. The Group’s largest manufacturing plant is strategically based at the Port of Rosyth where up to 30,000 pallets per week are produced. Having direct access to the port gives the group a competitive advantage by minimising in-bound raw material transport costs as well as keeping its carbon footprint down.  At Rosyth it has a large capacity kilning facility to treat and dry pallets and is currently developing a biomass plant to make use of wood waste.


business iT supporT across scoTLanD

Computers are a vital part of modern life, but when something goes wrong, it can cause huge inconvenience and stress. At DSIS, we have decades of expertise in providing companies with affordable and jargon-free IT support, from buying advice and software upgrades to data recovery and email hosting. Whatever your IT requirements, DSIS is here to help - call us on 0141 438 2030 or visit for more information. Gordon Mowat, CA at aspire Management “DSIS provided me with great service on a serious printing problem I had. They were really helpful and supportive, and I felt they went the extra mile. I’m very happy to recommend them.”

Get a free IT health check consultation to help provide clarity on your IT systems and discount of up to 20% for first year of support for chamber members.

Just Slate targets Minister overseas to attend markets It has seen staff numbers grow from five to 25 in three years and has generated a 70-90% increase in annual turnover each year. Now, a Kirkcaldy company which produces tableware products using natural slate, is on target to increase sales by 40% by securing new distribution deals in France and Japan. Just Slate forecasts sales will hit £2 million by September as a result. With support from Business Gateway and Scottish Development International, Just Slate attended a major trade fair in Paris earlier this year, allowing it to tap into previously untouched overseas markets. Managing Director Donny Carstairs, who bought the business in 2006, said: “We went thinking we’d secure 50 small retailers. Instead we secured a sales agency that will distribute product throughout France and have orders from Japan which we have started to fulfil.” Just Slate, whose products range from trivets and tablemats to coasters and clocks, has secured business from several high-profile clients including top chefs Gordon Ramsay and Martin Wishart, as well as from stores such as Harrods, John Lewis and Selfridges.

export event The Scottish Government Minister for Transport, Keith Brown, is to give the keynote address at an event to be held in Dunfermline on 21st June to promote exporting opportunities. The event will be hosted by the Fife Economy Partnership in association with Scottish Development International.

Manufacturing and business-to-business companies in Fife are being invited to the Business Breakfast, which will be held in the Carnegie Conference Centre. The event, a follow-up to a recent Manufacturing “Goods to Market” Business Breakfast hosted by Fife Council Economic Development, will focus on how to increase exports and the importance of manufacturing to the area’s economy. Manufacturing is a key element of the Fife economy and if Scotland is to tackle current problems and achieve sustainable growth it is manufacturing that will lead the way. Despite well-publicised problems within the euro-zone, there are still opportunities to develop current export markets, to explore new areas and source potential new customers. Under the banner of the Fife Economy Partnership, Fife Council Economic Development is working to support manufacturing businesses to explore key issues relating to logistics and exploit the opportunities for consolidation/collaborative methods of getting goods to market more effectively. There will be an opportunity for associated stakeholders, such as hauliers/logistics/Fife Chamber of Commerce, Business Gateway and the SMAS, to ‘showcase’ at the morning event. Delegates will have the opportunity to attend workshops to hear about SDI’s unique ‘Smart Exporter’ programme, support on hand from SEStran/Forth Ports to explore consolidation including general support currently available to identify and develop international links that could lead to new market opportunities. To register for the event and book a workshop place visit goods-to-market-international-trade-businessbreakfast-event.aspx


Rosyth fish plant set to provide up to 600 jobs

An assurance has been given that the UK's biggest fish processing plant, due to open in Rosyth at end of the year and set to employ around 600 people, will be a “long-term operation”. The plant will be housed in the former Lexmark International factory on the edge of town – a building which has been empty since the US-based company pulled out in 2006 after only 10 years' operation, with 700 people losing their jobs. Mark Warrington, Managing Director of new owners Meridian Salmon Group, said the fact that the plant represented a £10 million investment for Meridian's Polish parent company, Morpol, showed that his company was in it for the long haul. He told FBM: “We have bought these premises outright without grant funding and that makes this a significant and important development for our company and we see it very much as a long-term operation.


“We look forward to being a key part of the local economy for many years to come.” Mr Warrington added that the company was particularly pleased to have found suitable premises in Rosyth, explaining that its proximity to the motorway network and Euroferry port made it an “ideal” location. “We had been looking at several greenfield sites in the Rosyth area before we decided on buying this plant,” he said. “It was ideal for us – it's a high-spec, 150,000 sq ft building which we bought for a reasonable price – and we are now busy transforming premises that were purpose built as an inkjet cartridge manufacturing facility into a modern fish processing plant.” Created in 2011 by the integration of Northern Isles Salmon and The Lakeland Group, Meridian is one of the top five salmon companies in Scotland and is a subsidiary of international fish processing giant Morpol, which employs up to 4,000 people in eight countries and which last year had a turnover of more than £350 million. Meridian currently has facilities in Cumbria, Argyll, Orkney and Shetland, with more than 300 employees and total annual production of 22,000 tonnes. The company will transport fish by sea and road for processing at Rosyth, where the main focus will be processing smoked and ‘value-added’ salmon products for UK and overseas markets.

Mr Warrington said: “Fife has a tremendous heritage of production industries, and it will be great to be a part of taking that forward. It will also be great to bring salmon processing to Scotland's Central Belt. It will give our industry a more prominent place on the map and bring a traditionally rural located industry to the attention of many. We really do have an industry in Scotland to be proud of and we will certainly be promoting the quality aspects of Scottish salmon processed in Scotland through the new plant.” The Rosyth plant will initially employ around 300 people, with the potential of doubling the workforce within around two years as the site develops. Some employees will come from Eastern Europe as is common in any UK food factory at present but Mr Warrington stressed that there would be a wide range of employment opportunities for local people. “We want to be a valued part of the community, just as we are wherever we operate at present,” he said. Meridian has also acquired the adjacent former Acorn Pet Centre building, where the senior management team has been regularly based during fit-out work.

news in brief

 Company wins £30,000

 Ad campaign gets back on the road

A Rosyth-based design consultancy has become an award-winning business. Supply Design Ltd has won £30,000 in the regional final of Shell Springboard 2012, a programme which provides a financial boost to innovative, low-carbon business ideas. The company received the award for its high-efficiency power conversion technology aimed at diverse markets, including renewable energy, data centres and electric vehicles.

Windows and conservatories company CR Smith has revived its classic ’80s ad campaign, The Man in the Blue and White Van, as part of a deal secured with STV to sponsor the UK national weather reports. First launched in 1988, the Man in the Blue and White Van TV ads were widely credited for starting the trend for distinct branding on company vehicles. The 2012 revival is an animation of a CR Smith joiner and his van used at the beginning and end of every ITN national weather bulletin on STV. The sponsorship of the national weather report, launched in April, will run for 18 months.

 Raytheon contract boost Some 450 jobs at Raytheon UK’s plants in Glenrothes and Harlow, Essex, will be sustained by the award of a £60 million contract for extra precision bombs for the RAF, the Ministry of Defence announced in April. The contract was for Paveway 1V, which is considered to be the backbone of the RAF’s bombing capability.

 Optos picked for manufacturing exhibition Dunfermline-based retinal imaging specialist Optos has been chosen to take part in an exhibition demonstrating the best of British manufacturing. The company will showcase its technology at the UK Government’s Make it in Great Britain exhibition to be held at the Science Museum during the Olympics and Paralympics.

 FiFab award success Fife Fabrications Limited (FiFab) won Best Subcontractor – Forming & Fabrication award at the International Metalwork and Production awards which recognise the very best in manufacturing.

 Exhibits yield £1m-plus Over £1 million of potential orders was achieved by five local companies who exhibited at this year’s Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Exhibition in Farnborough. AGS Electronics, Dunfermline, Fife Fabrications and Stevenson Grantech, Glenrothes, KeyTech Electronic Systems, Kirkcaldy and PR2, Dysart received more than 60 enquiries thanks to attendance at the show, which was supported by Fife Council’s Economic Development Team.

 Hutchison’s Flour Mill investment As its parent company announced increased profits, Kirkcaldy’s Hutchison’s Flour Mill revealed further investment could be on the way. Work was already underway to upgrade facilities and create new silos and conveyers.

 Award for charity role Dunfermline-based Vets Now, the UK's leading emergency veterinary care provider, won the 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' title at the Scottish Business Awards for its work in founding and supporting the lifesaving charity Pet Blood Bank UK. The charity, pioneered by Vets Now employee Wendy Barnett, has collected approximately 9,000 units of blood since its foundation five years ago.

For more news in brief see P22

Print firm grows A

Kirkcaldy print business that started as a home-based hobby 40 years ago has increased its workforce as it strives to target new markets. Multiprint, based in a custom-built factory in Seafield Road, has recently recruited two new members of staff, taking the workforce to 15. Managing Director Jay Todd told FBM: “We’ve added a sales person and a trainee working on the reprographic side of the business, which I think shows that we are constantly developing as a business – and looking to expand.” Mr Todd added that the company, which has also invested in new technology as it looks to move into the digital market, was continuing to attract orders from a wide spectrum, ranging from one-person startups to multi-national companies, and from both the public and private sector. Multiprint’s chairman, George Warner, founded the business after refurbishing a printing press in the basement of his parents’ home. After four years’ trading, the company moved from its original base, in Cowdenbeath High Street, to Mitchelston Industrial Estate, Kirkcaldy, and later transferred to its present factory.



• Member of the Fife Trusted Trader Scheme.

• Approved installer of NorDan & Luvipol doors/windows.

• Showroom displaying internal and

w w w. b a v a r i a s c o t l a n d c h a r t e r s . c o . u k

external doors, windows and fittings.

• Conservatories/extensions &

01475 686072


• All trades supplied, fitting kitchens and bathrooms using a registered plumber and electrician.

Craftwork (Fife) Ltd. Tel: 01592 651910 Mob: 07984370967 Email:

Rosewood Sound Proofing

• Teams covering Scotland

luxur y breaks corporate hospitality

• No call out charge • Full supply and installation service • Supply only • Domestic, walls floors and ceilings • Commercial, pubs, clubs, hotels

BOAT SALES AND SERVICES w w w. d d z m a r i n e . c o . u k

Roy Balfour, 15 Douglas Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife KY1 1QG Tel: 01592 202189 • Mob: 07970 269879 Email:

PERFECT PITCH: Machrihanish Dunes golf course, one of the company’s clients

Company targets overseas growth A West Fife company founded in September last year has set its sights on further developing its already strong overseas markets by targeting sales in the USA and the Middle East.

The Great Turf Company, based in Belleknowes Industrial Estate, Inverkeithing, has secured a prestigious customer base for its natural fertiliser products. Several Premiership football clubs and Open Championship golf courses use the company's products, and the business has launched its products in Norway and Sweden, with ambitions for future expansion in markets such as the Middle East and the USA. Earlier this year the company won the British Chamber of Commerce Award as 'Scotland's Most Promising New Business', and it was further boosted when it was selected as one of five finalists from 1,000 entries for a £50,000 HSBC business growth grant. Though it was pipped at the post for the grant, the company is confident that its rapid growth will continue. Managing Director Ian Morrison said: “To be a finalist in the HSBC business growth grant came during an exciting period of growth for our business and we were absolutely thrilled to be representing Scottish innovation whilst

SHOWING THEM HOW: A Great Turf Company demonstration at the Viking Stadium, Stavanger, Norway

gaining international recognition for our own achievements within some of the most famous sporting venues in the world.” The Great Turf Company was launched with the vision of offering a chemical-free future for turf care. It pioneers a new, sustainable approach to turf management by offering an alternative to harmful petro-chemical fertilisers and fungicides. “We believe that our biological methodology is the future of the turfcare industry,” said Mr Morrison.


news in brief

 Firm hits bronze standard

The Fife Business Awards are now open for entries. The bi-annual awards are being organised this year by the Fife Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Fife Economy Partnership and provide an opportunity for local businesses to demonstrate excellence and gain recognition for their achievements.

John Kilgour, Chamber President said: “We are delighted to be organising the Awards this time round and we hope that our members and all other Fife businesses will support this significant initiative as we strive to celebrate the many successful businesses that exist in the Kingdom.”

The event will also showcase outstanding examples of how the business community is driving forward the local economy. The award categories are: Most Enterprising Start-up Company Sponsored by Business Gateway Fife Success through Sustainability – Sponsored by Green Business Fife Best Tourism Company (small & large) – Sponsored by Fife Tourism Partnership Best Business & Education Partnership – Sponsored by Fife Economy Partnership Culture of Enterprise Best Performing Business (two awards: Up to 50 employees sponsored by Business Gateway Fife. Over 50 employees Sponsorship still available) A Workforce for the Future – Sponsored by Fife Colleges Excellence in Customer Services – Sponsored by Oceaneering Umbilical Solutions Success through Marketing & Sales International Trade – Sponsored by Fife Chamber of Commerce In addition, the Fife Economy Partnership and Fife Council will be sponsoring two special awards for Outstanding Business Achievement and Business Person of the Year.

Last year’s winners include FMC Technology who won the Success through Sustainability title, Fife Heat Treatment Ltd as the Most Enterprising Start-up Company, Cooper Software as Best Performing Small Company and Fife Fabrications Ltd lifted the award for Success through Marketing and Sales. Chair of the Fife Economy Partnership Chris Parr said: “There are a large number of tremendous businesses within Fife and we would hope that as many as possible put themselves forward for one or more awards. Clearly the profile associated with these awards is highly attractive but so too is the motivational impact that they provide to newly formed businesses and to those who may be considering starting their own business.” Application forms will be available to download from the Fife Chamber of Commerce and other partners’ websites within the next few weeks. The Awards will take place on Thursday November 15 at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes and guests will be welcomed with a drinks reception followed by the awards dinner which will be hosted by comedian and TV personality Fred MacAulay.

Dunfermline firm Axon Cable has won a bronze excellence accreditation in recognition of outstanding quality and customer levels at the UK-wide Supply Chain 21 conference at SELEX Galileo in Edinburgh. The company, which designs and sells wires, cables and assemblies for hi-tech applications, was one of eight Scottish manufacturers to have achieved the bronze standard.

 Knockhill opens new track Knockhill can now offer a driving experience that is unique in Europe with a track that allows races in both directions. The opening marked Scotland’s first new motorsport circuit in 40 years and involved a six-figure investment to license the twisting track.

 Scottish Renewables annual conference Invest in Fife attended the Scottish Renewables annual conference in Edinburgh which attracted 600 delegates. Robin Presswood, of Fife Council, said: “With current and future developments in Fife, we will continue to contribute to Scotland’s growth targets in this rapidly emerging sector.”

 Cupar business scoops awards The Double A Trading Company was named the Professional Turfcare Dealer of the Year and its employee Christopher Mason won Apprentice of the Year at an annual industry awards event.

For further information regarding the Fife Business Awards 2012 please email or telephone 0141 887 6181.

For more news in brief see P27


Burcote targets 10 new wind farms in £1bn investment

The stand at All Energy


West Fife company is planning a £1 billion investment in wind farm projects across Scotland. Renewable energy developer Burcote Wind says that, if approved, its 10 proposed wind farms would create around 110 permanent jobs in engineering and maintenance and an additional 475 construction jobs during the build phases. Burcote Wind has targeted locations throughout the country, from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway, and estimates that the wind farms would produce enough power for more than 500,000 homes. The company proposes to establish community benefit funds at each site, with the aim of creating a long-lasting legacy by funding education and training places at local colleges. Chairman Graham Brown said: “Scotland is fortunate to have huge energy resources – and wind must be counted among the best of these. With around a quarter of Europe’s wind resource, it would be crazy not to harness that power, especially as fossil fuels become scarcer and even more expensive. “Politically, there is strong support across the spectrum, with the Scottish Parliament having set some of the world’s most ambitious targets for renewables generation and emissions reduction. “We have also been impressed by the commitment of the Scottish Government to making the transition to renewables a reality.” Burcote’s plans have been welcomed by Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, who said: “This is another fantastic example of a homegrown company bringing much-needed jobs and investment to Scotland through developing renewable energy projects.” Based in Pitreavie Court, Dunfermline, Burcote Wind specialises in onshore wind energy projects from the identification and design stage through to construction and operation.

Fife businesses at UK’s largest renewables event


en Fife businesses joined Fife Economic Development team at All Energy – a two-day event held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC). Burntisland Fabrications, Narvida, Diama Energy, BAE Systems, Houstons of Cupar, SOI Group [SMRU], Briggs Marine and Environmental, York EMC and The Hydrogen Office joined Invest in Fife Renewables and Carnegie College on the 126sq m stand on May 23 and 24. This year’s event attracted 580 exhibitors around the world. Dale Caton of Narvida, Dunfermline, said that being part of the Fife delegation was very beneficial: “This is the second year Narvida has been invited to join the Fife Group Stand at the All-Energy Exhibition. We have had a substantial amount of interest in our products on both the customer and supplier sides of the business, with excellent potential for future work.”

The 2011 event, which attracted almost 8000 delegates from over 50 countries, led to over 300 notes of interest for those exhibiting on the Fife Council stand. Robin Presswood, Business and Strategy Manager at Fife Council, said: “Once again, this has been an excellent show for the companies who joined us. This show is growing in popularity from year to year and is an important one for Fife businesses to be present at as we showcase the wealth of our renewables offering.” Fife’s Economic Strategy aims to develop Fife as a Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy, with the potential of up to 28,000 people being employed in the Scottish Offshore Wind sector alone by 2020. 


It’s a food business with a touch of glass – and it’s hot!


GROWTH INDUSTRY: Hot stuff at Chillilicious

Red Hot Chilli Fifers 24

hillilicious, based in Ceres, is a mother-and-daughter business which blends producing gourmet chilli products with making fused glass chillithemed art products for around the home. The food side of the business is the domain of mum Patricia Galfskiy, while her daughter Stacey puts her art degree to good use working with glass. “It’s an unusual mix but we think there’s a market for what we do because it is so different,” said Patricia. Chillilicious was set up in December 2010 and has developed a range of chilli products such as chutneys and oatcakes, as well as chilli jewellery and recycled glass chilli-themed artwork. The business, which grows its own chillis, has been trading online and at events such as arts and crafts fairs, but Patricia sees no reason why it cannot aim even higher. She said: “There’s a chilli farm in Devon with an annual turnover of around £250,000 – we would like to see ourselves reaching that scale in the future.” Patricia and Stacey have been juggling their own full-time jobs while creating their unique fusion of food and art. Now, they are being helped to develop Chillilicious by experts from Queen Margaret Hospital, Edinburgh. As well as getting advice on nutrition, Patricia and Stacey have been getting business development tips to help them develop the product range and more effectively take it to market. To pay for the research and development work, Chillilicious was awarded an innovation voucher to the tune of £4,760 from the Scottish Funding Council via Interface, a knowledge connection service for business. Stacey said: “You can’t be an expert in everything and there is so much to get to grips with when trying to grow a business. We were delighted to be matched with Queen Margaret University and to find out that specialist help and funding are available to support small business development.”

Recently received Fife Council grant through Business Gateway Fife

Boon for mill A

Fife paper mill has been given a new lease of life by the University of St Andrews. The firm behind Sapphire Mill – formerly known at Fettykil Mill – in Leslie has said that it would be able to protect jobs and create new employment opportunities thanks to a donation by the university. The support comes in the form of a range of paper-making equipment left over from the closure of the paper mill in Guardbridge. The university inherited the machinery when it bought the mill site two years ago. When St Andrews staff were clearing out the mill, Sapphire Mill bosses made a plea for any unwanted equipment and the university was only too happy to help. Roddy Yarr, the university’s Environment and Energy Manager, explained: “We could have sent the equipment for recycling or worse still, to landfill, but we realised the goods would be of great assistance to another paper maker. When Fourstones made contact with us, we were delighted to help.” Peter Duxbury, Managing Director of Fourstones, commented: “The equipment will be of great value in the development of our papermaking operations at Sapphire Mill, Leslie, and will help to protect both existing employment and create new jobs as we expand our operations on the site.”

Lovely chutney!

Council supports company’s growth plans

T INDEPENDENT TRADER: Byam Trotter with his range of products

The name may have something of the Only Fools and Horses about it but the person behind Trotter’s Independent Condiments says his inspiration is Richard Branson rather than Del Boy. Byam Trotter (24), of Upper Largo, set up his business in November 2009 and has huge ambitions for his unique products, a range of sauces, chutneys, pestos and dips. Helped by a start-up loan of £2,000 from the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, Byam has taken the hub of his business from his mother’s kitchen to a former chip shop in Methil High Street, which he has converted into a ‘condiment factory’. Now, Byam is taking his products to farm shops and delis throughout the country, and is eyeing top store Fortnum & Mason, as well as the likes of Waitrose and M&S, as potential outlets.

With help from his father Christopher, a chef, he developed his own recipe for Mostarda, and followed that up with a range of other products. “It’s been going well,” Byam told FBM. “In 2010, my first year of trading, I had a turnover of £10,000, but tripled that in 2011. I’m aiming for £70,000 this year.” “I’ve been a big fan of Richard Branson for a long time. He’s been a great source of inspiration to me as I take the business forward.” He added: “There is huge competition in this market but my products are unusual, have very good branding – and taste great.” Lovely chutney, as Del Boy might say!

he Pitreavie Group, a Fife company which was set up in 2008, is expanding its operations and has moved from its original base in Rosyth to larger premises in Glenrothes. The company, which provides packaging solutions to industry, moved in April to new warehouse facilities in Fife Council’s Fife Food and Business Centre, Southfield Industrial Estate, and to new offices in Eastfield Industrial Estate. The company employs 15 people, three as a consequence of the latest expansion, and plans to make more appointments later this year. Derek Bayne, Lead Officer – Property Management with Fife Council Enterprise, Planning and Protective Services, said: “I am delighted we were able to offer The Pitreavie Group good terms for a five-year lease. Hopefully, the move will allow the company to grow even further”. Fife Food and Business Centre has a range of multi-use units ranging in size from 2,000 sq ft. Four units are currently available for let at the centre. The Pitreavie Group will continue to maintain facilities in Rosyth for its assembly operation, with the premises in Glenrothes, with a combined floor area of 35,000 sq ft, supporting the storage and existing business.

Looking around for a business idea after leaving university, Byam stumbled across Mostarda, a spicy sauce his mother discovered on holiday in Italy.

Recently received Fife Council grant through Business Gateway Fife


Manufacturing the most of business opportunities


ife has a host of large-scale manufacturing businesses in Fife, but it’s easy to forget that many manufacturers in the area are small-scale, or even one-person, operations. And Gordon Henderson, East of Scotland Senior Development Manager with the Federation of Small Businesses, says that many of these manufacturers are particularly susceptible to economic downturns. He explained: “In general, manufacturers are reporting that they are busy or have good prospects. It is how they go about servicing this work that has changed. People are more cautious now, so you won’t see a rush to employ new staff and expand as fast as possible. They are being very careful to make sure that they can afford to service their orders and are looking at their risk exposure.” One small Fife business which has had to think on its feet is Anstruther-based Swankie Creations, which was set up firm 12 years ago by Brian Swankie. Brian (59) explained: “I had been doing a house renovation for a woman who told me that she wanted a Welsh dresser but couldn’t find exactly what she wanted, so I thought I would have a go and make it myself. The rest is history.” Swankie Creations developed as a successful business specialising in handcrafted kitchens and furniture, but three years ago business suddenly dried up. Brian said: “I simply had to diversify so I again decided to turn a hobby – in this case restoring old cars – into a business. I was restoring a Lotus XL which had a burr walnut veneer interior and realised that there might be a market in that sort of work. Now, vintage vehicle restoration is a large part of my business.” Another sole trader who works in wood is Mike Dempsey (47), of Glenrothes-based Pens of Distinction. As the name suggests, the business produces top-quality woodenbarrelled pens, which are sold in stylish wooden boxes.


AT WORK: Brian Swankie, of Swankie Creations

However, four years ago Mike bought equipment so that he could laser-engrave his products, ensuring a faster turnaround and allowing him to offer a more diverse range. Pens of Distinction now deals in coasters, wooden fridge markets keyrings and door nameplates, using sustainable timber from local, windblown trees. Mike told FBM: “Business slowed down quite a bit a couple of years ago so I had to come up with new ideas and new products. I’ve started making large, wood-framed mirrors and have been making boxes and wooden stoppers for high-end, premium whiskies.” Gordon Henderson, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “When you look at both Swankie Creations and Pens of Distinction you can see the small business resilience that the FSB has been talking about throughout the economic downturn. Both these businesses saw falling sales and so both adapted their offerings accordingly to attract new business.”

Gordon Henderson

For more information about the Federation of Small Businesses go to or email

news in brief

Supporting business needs to be the top priority

 New turbine system planned A two-blade offshore wind turbine system which claims to cut production costs by almost a half is set to be developed at Fife Energy Park in Methil by Dutch company 2-B Energy.

 Fife teen joins B&Q’s focus group Harris Aslam (16), of Kirkcaldy, has joined DIY retailer B&Q’s first ever ‘youth board’. The board are mentored by B&Q bosses and in return provide views and advice on targeting young consumers.

 New visitor guide launched A colourful new visitor guide for the Kingdom has been produced. The 32-page brochure, commissioned by Fife’s six Local Tourism Associations, part of the Fife Tourism Partnership, highlights the region’s attractions and provides information on how to make the most of a day out in the area.

 A taste of Fife… A host of Fife food and drink businesses showcased their wares at VisitScotland expo 2012, held in April at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. The Welcome to Fife stand was organised by Promoting Fife, together with Fife Tourism Partnership, and gave buyers a flavour of the area’s wide range of food, drink, outdoor, culture and heritage experiences.

 Sea wall upgrade Contractors have submitted tenders to Fife Council for upgrading the sea wall at Kirkcaldy. The work will be part of a £9 million plan which includes construction of a rock armour revetment to absorb the power of incoming water and improvements to the existing beach accesses and viewpoints. The project to improve the 90-year-old wall and minimise the risk of flooding is anticipated to begin in 2013.

Fife Chamber of Commerce has published its priorities for 2012 and beyond.


hief Executive Alan Russell, said: “Fife has a number of significant opportunities, but we can only maximise the benefits if we help businesses to invest. Too often our members tell us the opposite is the case. “The last three years have seen the UK economy come through a very deep recession and the public sector across the UK is in the process of making serious cuts to employment and spending levels. “As a result, investment by our existing companies will be the key to stimulating growth in Fife and the wider economy.” Alan Russell said businesses are keen to invest and grow in Fife, but more needs to be done to secure this investment for the future and ensure Fife does not miss the opportunities currently available. He pointed to Fife being already at the forefront of the renewable energy sector and seeing massive infrastructure investment such as the Forth Replacement Crossing project, which includes significant road and junction upgrades. He added: “Our primary goal is to make business a higher priority in the eyes of all policy makers and we will continue to campaign for local business interests.” Some of these priorities are:

Impressing on Transport Scotland the need to ensure the delivery of the new Forth Crossing by no later than 2016 and on budget. Further investment in Fife’s road network to include substantial improvements at the Redhouse roundabout on the A92 and to create much improved access to Levenmouth. Urging more investment in Fife’s rail network and services as well as supporting the campaign to bring High Speed Rail to Scotland. Supporting both Edinburgh and Dundee airports to develop new destinations, particularly in overseas markets. Greater dialogue with businesses to ensure there are improvements in the basic education and attitudes of our young people so that they are better equipped for further education or employment. A commitment to maintain discussions with politicians, at local and national level, on renewable sector growth, addressing the detrimental impact of high cost energy and possible impacts on tourism. Support effective tourism promotion of Fife within the UK and Europe, while urging VisitScotland to step up the international promotion of Scotland in emerging markets such as China, India and Russia. Fife Chamber’s policy priorities document is available on request 01592 647740 or


Green Business Fife Green Business Fife, launched in 2007 by Fife Council, aims to help local businesses achieve resource efficiency gains which will boost their competitiveness and minimise their environmental impact. For more information, check out

Freshness guaranteed – and green, too! Supplying hotels and catering establishments with fine quality fruit and vegetables 365 days a year means freshness is crucial and

Managing Director Ivan Wood became interested in generating renewable power for the warehouse and income through the feedin tariff scheme. And after installing solar photovoltaic panels on his house, which sits behind the warehouse on the family’s land, he had 175 panels installed on the roof of the warehouse at a cost of £130,000. The company set a target of generating 32,000 kilowatts in the first 12 months but within six months the system had already generated 22,000 kilowatts. In addition, the company should benefit from around £12,000 per year income on the feed-in tariff, which is index linked. On top of that savings on monthly bills are expected to be up to about £6,000 per year.

refrigerators are essential. And for Ivan Wood and Sons, Ballingry, it requires a warehouse with vast industrial refrigerators equivalent to up to 2,000 domestic kitchen appliances! The electricity bill was a staggering £1,200 per month.

The company is delighted with the performance of the PV panels and the financial benefits they envisage – a clear example of how being green can pay dividends.

Building sustainably GOING GREEN: guests at the VELUX event

Making tracks for Knockhill Think of motor sports and environmental best practice might not come immediately to mind. But that's something they're keen to correct at Knockhill Racing Circuit, which has been showcasing its green credentials to a group of Fife businesspeople. Representatives of a number of Fife companies visited Knockhill at an event organised by Green Business Fife. The event was designed to help business leaders understand how best practices can influence and be used to optimise operations in terms of reducing company motor emissions, improving fuel economy and reducing servicing costs an insurance premiums.

Representatives of a host of leading Fife businesses have been given an insight into sustainability in the construction industry. A workshop organised by Green Business Fife, Fife Construction Forum, VELUX and a+J burridge architects encouraged businesses to look at the ways the environment is impacted when designing and constructing buildings. Held at VELUX, Glenrothes, the event also included a discussion on the Flower House and the Active House project. The Flower House, designed by a+j burridge, was built as one of the exemplar sustainable houses for Scotland's Housing Expo 2010. The Active House project has been undertaken with a particular focus on health and comfort while also meeting the demands for sustainable buildings. Jim Mitchell, Senior Architect from the Scottish Government, said: “This workshop provided the opportunity for new insights into sustainability issues at each stage of the construction process, from the selection of the site through to the performance of the completed building.”


Business support growing Support for new and existing businesses in Fife continues to grow.

Company grows following ‘valuable’ advice


he headline business start-up target of 750 for 2011/12 was exceeded, with 810 new-start businesses receiving assistance via Business Gateway (BG Fife) during the year. As at the end of March 2012, this had led to the creation of more than 1,000 jobs and a potential £23 million in turnover during their first year of trading. This included 161 start-ups achieved by young people and 395 start-up businesses by women – a record achievement of around 49% of total business start-ups for the year. Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) contributed nine per cent to the overall start-up total, equating to 120 jobs in Fife’s regeneration areas. BG Fife’s high level of activity within the existing business sector was reflected by the 200 training events carried out in 2011/12, with a further 90 events delivered by BYOB in the same period. A total of 996 businesses received business support during that period, 179 received advisory assistance, with a further 82 receiving enhanced advisory services leading to referral for specialist services. BG Fife administers Fife Council’s ‘Fife Investment Fund’, which involves the provision of grants and repayable loans to assist new-starts and growth of existing businesses, below 50 employees. It also administers the East of Scotland Investment Fund (ESIF) loan applications for Fife Council, which provides loans up to £50,000 to businesses. A total of 87 businesses have received grant/loan assistance to the value of £229,000 throughout the year. This investment is anticipated to create 355 jobs over three years and an additional turnover of £19 million.

EXACTIVE FOUNDERS: From left, service director Craig Arbuthnott, sales and marketing director Robert Hutchison and managing director Scott Millar

A Fife IT and telecoms company has more than doubled its staff numbers in less than 18 months after securing a raft of new business that has helped increase its turnover by 69%.


unfermline-based Exactive saw its annual turnover hit £1.4 million in April after winning contracts with the likes of the Scottish Government, Chivas Regal and Scottish Borders Council. Set up six years ago, the company – which provides unified communications and managed services to private and publicsector organisations – now has over 80 well-known clients and 20 staff. Managing Director Scott Millar said: “Our Business Gateway adviser has been a constant and valuable sounding board throughout the growth of Exactive. As a maturing company we still value his input and regularly seek him out for advice.” The firm has already made significant inroads into the English market after opening an office in Reading.


HELPING HANDS: Furniture Plus staff and volunteers with managing director Daniel Rouse (second from right)

Business Gateway helps thriving social enterprise F

ife social enterprise Furniture Plus helped divert 850 tonnes of furniture and electrical goods from landfill last

year. The charity-based reuse and recycle organisation undertook 8,208 collections throughout Fife – 1,000 more than the previous year – and saw sales remain steady at around £500,000. The enterprise also made 3,321 deliveries to Fife homes. Now, Furniture Plus plans to further develop its training and employability programme and open an IT suite at its Dysart base this summer and will transfer its Inverkeithing warehouse and shop to Dunfermline by the end of the year. Furniture Plus – which was established in 2001 – has valued the help it has been given by Business Gateway Fife. Managing Director Daniel Rous said: “As a thriving social enterprise – with 36 paid employees – we need to ensure that as we grow we keep on top of things such as HR. That is why we turned to Business Gateway. It was able to provide us with essential HR support which allowed us to standardise employee contacts and review our new-start policies.


“It was vital that we undertook this work and would not have been able to do so without Business Gateway’s support. The organisation has been fantastic and its networking events have also helped increase awareness of what we do.” For more information on how Business Gateway can help your business grow and prosper, visit www.yourbusinessgateway. or call 0845 609 6611 or 01592 858333.

Dear HR Agony Aunts, I have a sales guy that has just lost his licence because he has racked up so many points for speeding and he didn’t tell me about this until today when he says he can’t go to see a potential client. Can I sack him because he can’t do his job now and didn’t tell me about the previous points?

Yours, Peeved Dear Peeved, In short, no, just because he is not able to drive himself to see clients, he could use public transport or make use of a driver for the period he has lost his licence. The driving element, although important for a sales person, is not an essential requirement of the job, in comparison to, for example, a courier or coach driver. What you have not mentioned is if the employee has a company vehicle or not. I would suggest that if an organisation has employees that have driving as part of their job or company vehicles in their care, that the employer asks to take copies of the employee’s driving licence every six months to keep track of any offences, particularly as these will affect their insurance.

Sharpen Your Pencil Cut Costs with POS Stationery • Print • IT Supplies • Marketing Products • Furniture • Janitorial Supplies

For the best prices online visit

Orders can be collected at our trade counter or delivered directly

10% OFF your first order enter discount code ‘POS1’ when placing your order online Professional Office Supplies, 203 - 213 Orbiston St. Motherwell, Lanarkshire, ML1 1QF t. 01698 263 277 f. 01698 265 114 e.



discover the secret


Costco is a membership warehouse club that sells a wide selection of top quality brand name merchandise at low warehouse prices. Specialty departments include Fresh Deli and Produce, In-House Bakery and Butchery, Service Deli, Cafe, Tyre centre, Opticians, Fine Wines and Spirits, Electrical appliances and much much more! We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund. We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.

Costco Edinburgh Costkea Way Loanhead Edinburgh EH20 9BY T: 0131 440 7050 E: Central Membership: 01923 830 477

Business Computer and Network Supply, Installation and Support Network Support and Installation Computer Support and Installation Contract Support Network and Communication Solutions Email Security Internet Security Data Security and Recovery I.T. Consulting Web Development

Apart from our standard membership we have Executive, which is our highest level of membership where you can earn a 2% on most purchases up to a maximum of £300 per year. If you take out membership through this advert you will receive a free gift.

11 Leven Road, Lundin Links, Fife KY8 6AQ Tel 01333 329118 email:

w w w. c o a t e s c o n s u l t i n g . c o . u k

Helping furnish the people of Fife

For more information email or call: 01592 654546 (Dysart) 01383 428664 (Inverkeithing) 01383 515222 (Cowdenbeath) Furniture Plus is a Registered Charity (SC032833) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (SC225920)

Quality recycled furniture at prices to suit all budgets

Furniture Plus in Fife is a charity based ReUse and Recycling Social Enterprise for Furniture, Household and Electrical Items. It has a mission to “Help Furnish the People of Fife” and offers low cost or discounted items to anyone, while simultaneously delivering employability options through work and skills based placements/training. With branches in Dysart, Cowdenbeath & Inverkeithing, everyone can benefit from the low prices on all items. Find out more information at

Occupational Health Specialists

Business Medical Business Medical provide a range of Occupational Health services from Dunfermline (opposite Sky building) as well as specialist medicals Offshore – OGUK(UKOOA) & Norwegian Working at Heights Confined Spaces Emergency Response Ionising Radiation, Lead and Asbestos Executive Medicals Health Promotion Drug & Alcohol testing

Tel: 01383733740 – – 9 Dewar House, Enterprise Way, Dunfermline, KY11 8PY

FBM Meets... Debbie Leishman, Chief Operating Officer (Services), MGt


irkcaldy born and bred mother-of-one Debbie Leishman is MGt’s Chief Operating Officer (Services). In this article she talks to FBM about her climb up the career ladder, as well as the rise of Kirkcaldy’s biggest employer since she joined it as a startup in 1998. MGt offers business outsourcing solutions for big names such as Digital UK, BT, ITV, Setanta and Racing UK. MGt’s employees act as their clients’ customer management centre and embrace their clients’ brands and values. MGt offers innovative technology solutions, as well as recently launching ‘PayWizard’ payment solutions.

Tell us about your background.

My dad was in the armed forces so I spent my younger years living away in Hong Kong and Germany but we moved back to Kirkcaldy when I was 13 and I attended Kirkcaldy High School then Adam Smith College.  When my son Shaun was young, I had a number of parttime jobs from working at my local takeaway to night-shift auxiliary work. Some of the best experience of dealing with customers and people came from these jobs. I got my first taste of contact centres when I joined Sky, where I spent a year as a customer service advisor: I loved it - the energy, the buzz and satisfaction of resolving customer issues, it was an exciting time.  From here I moved to Excel Multimedia (an outsourcer now known as Stellar) where I managed a number of sales campaigns for Marks and Spencer.  In 1998, I joined MGt as a Sales Manager on an account moving over from Excel and the rest, as they say, is history.  Over time, as the company grew I moved into various positions and I have been in my current role - Chief Operating Officer (Services) for 18 months. My role involves being responsible for our customer management services, clients, operational technology solutions, logistics and fulfilment centre.

How has MGt grown to be the success story it is today?

We are a ‘can do’ company and that is what has really inspired me to work here. If we are presented with a possible project, our first thought is ‘how can we do this’ before even considering whether or not it might not be possible. We have adapted our offering over the years to ensure our customers are getting the most cost effective quality and efficient service which have a real positive impact on their business objectives.  MGt changes all the time and that makes our roles really interesting and never dull. There is real community spirit in MGt, people engage to ensure we deliver for our clients, customers and each other; it’s a warm friendly place.

How have the past couple of years been and what do the next few years hold?

Like everyone in a difficult economic environment, we have had to make difficult decisions and adapt to survive. We are doing a lot more multi-channel communications with customers, so for instance speaking to them directly through webchat, providing complete customer interaction management tools which allow customers to self serve and get answers when and how they want. We are optimistic for the future and glimmers of positive change are emerging. We are securing new deals for MGt and PayWizard is gaining momentum. We are confident about the future.  33

Events Diary







Get Real Results from your Website

Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline

5 June 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Selling to the MOD – Fife Chamber Queensferry Hotel, Business Breakfast North Queensferry

7 June 8am – 10am

Members £15 +VAT Non members £30 + VAT

To book your place contact kellylister@ or call 01592 647740. Alternatively you can book online at www.


Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline

12 June 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Employing Staff for the First Time

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

12 June 9.30 – 12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Scotland’s Economic Future - Is Devo Plus the Answer? Fife Chamber Lunch

The Kingswood Hotel, Burntisland

13 June 12 – 2pm

Members £20 +VAT Non Members £40 +VAT

To book your place contact kellylister@ or call 01592 647740. Alternatively you can book online at

Business Networking

Dean Park Hotel, Chapel Level, Kirkcaldy

13 June 6.15 – 8.15pm


To book or call 01592 858333

Basic Bookkeeping

Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline

14 June 9.30 – 4.00pm Lunch provided


To book or call 01592 858333

Improve your Search Engine Ranking

Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline

19 June 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

‘Goods to Market’ Business Breakfast

Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline

21 June


For information and to book http://www.sdi.

How to secure new funds from your bank Fife Chamber Business Breakfast

Rothes Halls, Glenrothes

21 June 7.45 – 9.15am

Members £15 +VAT Non-members £30 + VAT

To book your place contact kellylister@ or call 01592 647740. Alternatively you can book online at

Green Business Fife - Heat Technologies Event

Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Methil

27 June 8am Breakfast included


To book please contact

Newly Self Employed – The Basics

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

29 June 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Marketing Your Business

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

3 July 9.30 – 12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Computerised Accounts (Intro to Sage)

Adam Smith College, Nasmyth Road, 3 July Southfield Industrial Estate, Glenrothes 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Business Expenses & Capital Allowances for the Self Employed

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

6 July 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Advertising & Promotion

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

10 July 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Social Media – Beyond the Buzz

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

11 July 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Mastering Selling Skills

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

17 July 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

PR on a Shoestring

Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline

19 July 9.30 – 12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Basic Bookkeeping

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

7 August 9.30 – 4.00pm Lunch provided


To book or call 01592 858333

Green Business Fife -Best Practice Visit

Progress Rail Services Ltd, Headrig Road, South Queensferry, EH30 9SH

8 August 9.30am


To book, please contact dorothy.smith@fife.

Business Networking

Dean Park Hotel, Chapel Level, Kirkcaldy

8 August 6.15 – 8.15pm


To book or call 01592 858333

Intellectual Property – How to protect your idea

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

15 August 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Newly Self Employed – The Basics

Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline

17 August 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

How to Excel at Leadership Fife Chamber Business Breakfast

Rothes Halls, Glenrothes

23 August 7.45 – 9.15am

Members £15 +VAT Non-members £30 + VAT

To book your place contact kellylister@ or call 01592 647740. Alternatively you can book online at

Value Added Tax

Kingdom House, Saltire Centre, Glenrothes

23 August 10 – 12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

Business Expenses & Capital Allowances for the Self Employed

Dunfermline Business Centre, Izatt Avenue, Dunfermline

24 August 9.30 -12.30


To book or call 01592 858333

8.15 - 11.30am

Loans of up to £50,000 • • •

Security may be required Fixed interest rates at 6% The loan will account for no more than 50 % of the funding package.

Loans can be used for: • • • •

The purchase of plant and equipment, Provision of working capital Purchase, expansion or refurbishment of commercial property Purchase of a business.

Who can apply: • • •

Businesses with commercially viable proposals Applicants must have a gap in their funding package All types of businesses – sole traders, partnerships, limited companies.

How long does it take? •

Usually a decision can be made within 6 weeks

Contact All types of enquiries are welcome – please contact Peter Livingstone at Business Gateway on 01592 858335 or email

Expert help from Business Gateway. Helping Fife businesses to succeed. ‘Expert Help’ has provided businesses with external specialist support to develop strategies and plans in areas important to future success. Areas where Fife businesses have accessed ‘Expert Help’ include: • Marketing • Sales • PR and communications • Human resources

• Process development • Quality • Environmental • Finance

‘Expert Help’ is aimed at businesses: • With fewer than 50 employees • In manufacturing or business-to-business services • With ambition to increase sales by approximately £200,000 over a three year period Web-based businesses may also be considered, providing there are employment prospects and a wide geographic target market.

If you think your business could benefit from ‘Expert Help’ email the Business Gateway Fife office on or call 01592 858 333. Alternatively visit or call 0845 609 6611.

your gateway to business expertise Business Gateway services are delivered by Local Authorities, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government with the support of associated partner organisations. Maximum call charge from BT landline is 3p per minute.

Fife Business Matters Issue 19  
Fife Business Matters Issue 19  

Fife Business Matters Magazine