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Edward Naylor is the CEO of Naylor Industries, a Barnsley based business which he has turned from a £12m loss making business into a diversified, international £55m business. At £12m in 1998 there were 375 employees, now at £55m there are 400 employees, that’s all about automation. Plus as you will see they now have a broad range of products and markets they sell to.


The company was started by Edward’s great great grandfather in 1890. Edward qualified as an accountant at Deloitte in the City, but when his father died suddenly he had to come back to run the business. They were making clay pipes that suddenly in 1993 nobody wanted to buy, the construction industry was in free fall. The company was losing 10% pa.

What to do? Answer, 5 new Projects:

Project 1 Make the clay pipes stronger. They developed a very strong clay pipe – low volume, high cost. Opportunity to export, especially in the far east. Its now in 65 different markets. It lost money in the first 2-3 yrs, but by the late 90’s it was a commercial success.

Project 2 Chemical pipes for hot or corrosive effluent, another high spec and expensive product mostly sold overseas.

Project 3 Yorkshire Flowerpots. A new product, a new market. Quite alien to us, we tried selling to builders merchants. Design Council advice, we were stunned how bad we looked. A wake up moment, got Design Council to redo the brand; the design of the flowerpot and of all sales literature. We invested heavily in an automated production facility. Garden Centres and the retail world was new. We are now the largest garden pot manufacturer in the UK. Still got work to do to build the Yorkshire Flowerpot brand.

Project 4 Plastic pipes. We raised venture capital money. We didn’t know how to make plastic pipes, we formed a partnership with the best German manufacturer Hegler. We now offer a range of pipes and our plastic pipes are our biggest division £35m t/o. 

Other products – Dog agility tunnels and plastic grass grids.


Random Thoughts

Involve outsiders – Design Council and Hegler have been fantastic.

Break rules – new markets.

You will get things wrong!


Nick Butler