Leyland SDM

Specialist Decorators Merchants Building Bright Future


Leyland SDM is an independent family-owned business established in London in 1985 providing an extensive range of decorative and DIY products to both the professional trade as well as the general public. Currently operating a retail branch network of 17 stores, the company’s strategy is to consolidate their position as the dominant independent player in London before launching a major national expansion programme.

RMC was initially approached by Leyland SDM to help tackle certain structural issues and deep-rooted cultural legacies within the company that were proving an immediate barrier to growth.

A fresh start was needed with front-of-house being a key priority. There was a need to fundamentally re-position store manager roles, responsibilities and expectations, creating clarity of job purpose and a platform for healthy future career development and succession planning within the business.

Although originally presented as a consultancy project, it was clear that a short intervention could not be expected to deliver the sort of changes that were necessary. In consultation with Leyland SDM, we course-corrected and determined to appoint a permanent senior manager to deliver long-term value.

We were retained to manage the search and selection of Head of Trading & Operations; a high profile champion for change, spearheading all aspects of retail store operations, controlling sales and profitability, and helping to identify ongoing customer needs and tactical trading/property opportunities.

This hybrid role went beyond “policing” tasks and processes. It required effective and inspirational leadership to store teams ensuring that every team member has the training, knowledge and attitude to deliver superb customer experience, value for money, innovation and quality at every retail touch-point.

We undertook a thorough talent scoping exercise to identify those candidates with the right blend of corporate blue-chip career experience and pedigree, but also who would be capable of adapting to a much smaller and less structured independent trading environment. This meant that our focus was upon checking for the right blend of personal chemistry / compatibility as much as competency and experience. It was important also to carefully brief and prepare candidates for the realities and legacy issues they would likely face in this role, and to set realistic expectations for both candidates as well as the client in terms of the timetable of impact and likely success for this brand new role within the organisation. We successfully identified a series of outstanding candidates with the requisite blend of skill and character, and this individual is now firmly established in the role and already making an impressive impact.

Whilst too early to have a measurable impact upon immediate trading performance, the new Head of Trading & Operations has already delivered on a strategic review of the current retail organisation and management structures, which will in turn have a profound and positive impact upon operational efficiency, manpower planning, customer satisfaction levels, and ongoing succession planning within the business.

This success has led in turn to RMC being commissioned to advise Leyland SDM on a major strategic Consultancy review of their entire supply-chain infrastructure. This is now envisioned as a long-term partnership with Leyland SDM to help them through a major period of change within the organisation.

In summary, this intervention by RMC has allowed Leyland SDM to continue to honour its proud heritage and traditional values, but to equip it to face the omni-channel future with confidence.

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“As a medium-sized retailer, I was somewhat apprehensive about deciding to make substantial changes to the management structure and operational procedures in the company. However, Morven [Reid Kay] and the team from RMC made the whole process far more manageable than I could ever have imagined.

What impressed me most of all was RMC’s uncanny ability to understand my business and most importantly appreciate the requirements of the roles and responsibilities for the new position I asked them to recruit for. I was presented with an impressive shortlist of a cross-section of candidates, all of whom I found appealing and thought would bring value to my company. And all of which was accomplished in a much shorter timeframe than I had anticipated.

As a result of RMC’s help, I appointed a new Head of Trading & Operations who very quickly helped address numerous outstanding issues and who has already made substantial improvements that I could have only dreamed of before the appointment.”

Andrew Urban
Managing Director, Leyland SDM
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