Adam Baldwin and James Margrett have just completed the Close Brothers Asset Finance Sales Academy and have joined our print division. Here they share their experiences and talk about what print equipment is currently most in demand.
Tell us a bit about your work history...
Adam Baldwin - I did a degree in product design with a specialty in my final year focusing on solar energy storage for residential properties. After leaving university I joined a graduate scheme working for Pendragon where I was selling cars. I was also helping to change the way the sales teams sold cars, in particular electric cars.
During my time with Pendragon, I worked at Vauxhall, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW. The scheme was later disbanded due to COVID, so I began to look for a new opportunity to challenge myself further.
James Margrett - I worked with HSBC from 2014 to 2019 starting in the branch network before working up the ladder to Commercial Banking and falling into Asset Finance. After a couple of years in Asset Finance I then decided to take the plunge and joined the world of finance brokering with Capex Finance in the summer of 2019, again, focussing on Asset Finance.
The pandemic changed my career as I was furloughed from April 2020 until August 2020 when I was made redundant. I then chose to join Close Brothers as an Account Manager within the Transport team in Burton. In this role I was helping the 5 Regional Sales Managers with their new and ongoing deals. The Sales Academy was advertised in early 2021 and here I am now.
What aspects of the Close Brothers Sales Academy have you found the most valuable?
AB - The Mentorship from previous members of the academy has been incredible, as has the support and interactions with the CEOs and senior leadership teams. It makes you feel empowered to ask questions and present your ideas. The training from and exposure to very inspirational people and successful people within the business and outside companies to impart knowledge and experience has been very valuable.
JM - There have been a number of different external parties who have added value to the Sales Academy so far via training courses in prospecting, cold calling and finance training but there have also been internal parties who have added value too. I have found it very useful to have had previous Sales Academy members come back to talk us through their journey. It really resonates that the person talking has been through the same process, come out the other side and is working very successfully for their divisions.
What machinery/equipment are you finding is currently most in demand?
AB - Currently we are finding a shift towards packaging and digital equipment as people look to diversify and develop their offering. The need for either very high-quality lower volume offerings, such as packing which would involve folding and gluing systems as well as flexographic presses rather than lithography, allowing companies to print on different substrates such as films.
The biggest push though is the ability we have to refinance equipment and release capital to help clear headroom in a company's cash flow to purchase stock in bulk at a lower cost. This helps to beat the squeeze in the supply chain or restructure multiple agreements to lower monthly outgoings.
JM - With long lead times on new machines, of 9+ months in some cases, and with supply chain issues & demands, used machinery is very hot right now. The success and growth of packaging businesses over the past year or so is also an area in demand which we are pushing ourselves further into, whilst still delivering on traditional printing equipment.
What do you think 2022 holds for the Print Industry?
AB - It will be a period of huge change. There has been a lot of mergers and acquisitions, people joining forces to be able to take on a broader range of projects and offer more capacity. With an increase in raw material prices and long lead times on new equipment, making the most of existing assets will be key to growing into a less COVID-effected period in the print world.
JM - After a wave of CBILS lending last year, rising raw material & energy prices; a lot of print businesses will be looking to improve their cash flow and steady the ship for the year. It has been a tough start to 2022 but refinancing current assets and consolidating debts to inject cash into businesses may be key for the year. It is also the bread and butter of how we can help our customers here at Close Brothers.