Collaboration and innovation to help the family business grow

  • Collaboration and innovation to help the family business grow
    Independent.t. E.
    In Ireland, we have a very strong tradition of family businesses of all sizes. They are the basis of the SME community and without them our employment figures would be much lower. The Donnelly group is one such company, founded by Tony Donnelly and his son Brian in 1979. Starting as a wholesaler of fruits and vegetables, the business has evolved over the years and diversified with a number of related businesses.
    https://www.independent.ie/business/small-business/synergies-and-innovation-help-family-business-to-grow-37185519.html
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In Ireland, we have a very strong tradition of family businesses of all sizes. They are the basis of the SME community and without them our employment figures would be much lower. The Donnelly group is one such company, founded by Tony Donnelly and his son Brian in 1979. Starting as a wholesaler of fruits and vegetables, the business has evolved over the years and diversified with a number of related businesses.

Families have shown themselves to be entrepreneurial, opportunistic and a true inspiration for other family businesses.

Today owns Kieran, Bryan, and sons Ronan, they proved that the family business can survive a few generations.

Damien Butler, managing Director of Donnelly engaged me for the project strategy for its wholesale division. What impressed me most was the maturity shown by the Donnelly brothers to step aside and recognize the value of being surrounded by great people. Having the right people, who enjoyed the confidence and authority to get to work, helping to strengthen and diversify the business for many years.

The first big breakthrough for the company, when they met a buyer from Superquinn. Brand Donnelly has always been about quality and service. For example, he was one of the first wholesalers to push manufacturers to improve their quality. This attitude sat very well with DNA and Superquinn was a marriage made in heaven. He became the sole supplier of fruits and vegetables that client to Superquinn was taken over by a group Musgrave in 2011.

Glan ARIS Milestone

The first real diversification was in 2001 when the group has developed a new related business – Glan ARIS. Because of strong partnerships with key consumer, the level of openness and honesty was high. Donnelly is faced with the problem of logistics and costs in respect of movement of shares with their main trading partner.

Donnelly worked with Superquinn to build facilities for cleaning crates, which turned into a business, where Donnelly managed the total cadastral boxes for them. That includes collection, purification and return them to the stores.

Today, it is now an independent business with the state-of-the-art facilities in Dublin and cork, is chaired by Brian Doyle. It provides an excellent management service box for a number of retailers in various product categories.

In Wonderfoods Milestone

The second important milestone was the creation of Wonderfoods in 2004. In the world of shopping and ready to eat was a growing market, Donnelly moved to Milan with a dedicated and specialized suggestions. Led by Ann Bolger and her team Wonderfoods to prepare a washed, ready-to-eat food products. Clicking on Donnelly emphasis on quality and service that they provide branded range of products for retail and food services service businesses in Ireland and the UK.

Strong on innovation, they had success with their Caesar salad kits and a handy roasting tray that goes right in the oven. Providing a constant supply of cabbage brought them to a new business again, a thorough example of related diversification.

Farm Stage

There is a lot of volatility in salad cabbage market in particular. Obviously, this requirement is mainly in the summer, but given the vagaries of weather and market. To mitigate against this, Donnelly decided to become in their own lands.

Now headed by Martin Gaffney, the farm produces its own cabbage for the whole year. It is stored in your own fridge to ensure the uninterrupted supply and no reserves. The price is also protected and guaranteed.

Bringing it all together

Since the growth model was a mixture of related diversification and organic growth within each section, Donnelly has earned a reputation as a reliable and appropriate supplier of fruits and vegetables. Every business needs to survive on its own merits, but of course the interaction within the group are significant. This is when the Commission comes in.

Now they have a Board group, which oversees the strategic directions and performance indicators for each business. It also ensures that interactions, such as possible, the structure and saving the maximum. Meeting once a month, the Council consists of families managing Director of each business and two non-Executive Directors.

Summary

The history of the Donnelly group an inspirational one that shows the possibilities for growth in the family business. Motivated relationship, a deep understanding of the industry and the level of opportunism and grit, they have successfully de-risked and diversified the business.

There are two basic knowledge in it for me. Of diversification, which of course requires a certain level of risk. Other important messages for family business and understand the value that is not a family members can bring to the table. It requires a willingness to change. But with good management and a structured Board, such problems can be overcome.

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