Thompson Telescopes Ltd is a division of Murray Engineering. It was formed following the acquisition of a US company by Murray’s parent group, the large conglomerate, PH Holdings plc. Initially, Thompson acted as the UK sales arm, and marketed a range of standard telescopes for amateur astronomers and clubs. Telescopes were manufactured in the USA and sold via the UK company to markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). However, customers increasingly demanded specific designs to meet their own tastes. Some, for example, would want their own specification of motion drives to be fitted, others wanted CCD camera attachments and accompanying software. It was found that, while the US company could supply special orders, Thompson’s sales were suffering because of the costs and the relatively lengthy delivery times involved.
It was therefore decided some six years ago to establish manufacturing facilities in the UK. A factory was built on an industrial estate at Ebbw Vale in Gwent, South Wales, and the machines and equipment purchased to enable Thompson Ltd to carry out manufacturing and development of many of the components and systems themselves. This helped considerably to reduce costs and improve capability of meeting specific customer orders, and sales surged ahead. By 2000, Thompson Ltd was buying only 50 per cent by value of the parts and systems that
it used from the USA.
● The company
Although Thompson had grown rapidly after it had established UK manufacturing facilities, sales turnover had flattened in recent years. Table 29.1 shows the profit/loss statement, and Table 29.2 the balance sheet for this period. Thompson is currently regarded as a poor performer within Murray, and finds it difficult to attract investment for the further growth in sales the company believes is possible. The organisation chart for Thompson is shown in Figure 29.1, and the main functions can briefly be... [continues]
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