Norman Scott of Scott Group Interviewed

The Herald recently interviewed Norman Scott of pallet manufacturer and management conglomerate Scott Group. The article is available from the Herald, although it is necessary to complete a free registration.

(I traveled to Edinburgh to interview John Scott in Fife for Pallet Enterprise Magazine back  in 2004. The company looked solid and ambitious at that time, so I am clearly not surprised about their ongoing growth)

Here are some points from the article:

  • Since beginning as a rundown sawmill 24 years ago, it currently has £120 million of turnover and 1000 employees overall, including 300 in Scotland.
  • John Scott, 40, founder and  76% shareholder, has moved  to Monaco to lead the international growth of Scott Group.
  • Norman Scott, 42, John’s older brother and minority shareholder “holds the fort” in Scotland.  The company has unveiled a unified rebranding of the group’s businesses from packaging to property. He says, “We can absolutely see more opportunity ahead of us.”
  • In 1998,  Scott Group acquired Scotland’s then biggest pallet-maker. “All of a sudden we were a more serious player, it opened our eyes to the opportunity, and we began to understand more fully how fragmented the market was.”
  • Scott acquired around 30 companies over the next 9 years with support from Bank of Scotland, and after a four-year lull is looking at acquisition opportunities. Norman says that future expansion will be less about geography now and more about additional turnover on existing sites to improve the efficiency of what we already have.
  • Scott currently supplies pallets from its operation in Latvia to customers in Germany, France and Belgium. The company is looking for more European expansion opportunities. Originally the Latvian operation was set up to supply cut stock to the UK operations, but now also supplies pallets to Scott customers on the mainland.
  • Norman Scott says that the company is keen to replicate what it has done in the UK in other markets.
  • One acquisition was European Logistics Management, rebranded Scott ELM, a pallet management company. “It is all about recovery and re-use, which is very important to everybody’s environmental agenda these days,” Mr Scott stated to the Herald. “Timber prices have risen sharply and look set to continue to rise, and with more demand for virgin timber, for us to recover and re-use makes perfect sense.” He added: “ELM is something we are quite focused on, working with a number of key customers particularly in the construction and building products trade.”
  • Norman Scott believes that 2010 will prove to be the group’s most successful trading year, in every division.
  • Scott Group now has a sizable packaging division with four acquired businesses, including Tripak in Uddingston and last year Rosewood in Cumbernauld. “We have moved some management resource around to give that division more focus, we are now actively looking at packaging and how to take the business forward,” Scott said.
  • Scott Group also has a property arm and an industrial supplies business, formerly Fasco, now Scott Direct.
  • Norman Scott emphasizes that the rebranding exercise is not just about marketing, but also ” promoting the business to our own people so they understand more about the scale…We talk about having a passion for success and that is what we are trying to cascade right through the organisation.”

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