IPS Ceramics Ltd. recently announced its management buyout (MBO) of Dyson Thermal Technologies Kiln Furniture, the former Dyson Group business. This MBO, concluded December 23, 2009, includes the existing order book, manufacturing and intellectual properties associated with the company’s entire kiln furniture range, as well as global agency agreements.
The MBO team behind IPS Ceramics includes Managing Director Sukhjinder Singh (formerly managing director of the Ceramics Division and program director of Dyson Group), Operations Director Ian Wright (formerly senior operations manager, Dyson Thermal Technologies) and Sales Director Phil Green (formerly commercial business manager, Dyson Thermal Technologies Kiln Furniture).
Singh originally joined Dyson Group in April 2008 as its program director, and subsequently also took on the role of managing director of the Ceramics Division. He holds a master’s of science degree in business and has a post-graduate supply chain qualification. He began his career in The Netherlands as a management consultant with KPMG, moving on to work for Shell and Univar, where he held financial controller, strategy, marketing and project leader roles.
“One of the main drivers in my move to the UK was the strong entrepreneurial element to the job,” said Singh. “I am delighted that this development and the creation of IPS Ceramics gives free rein to this aspect of my management role and promises to test all the strengths that brought me to the business in the first place.”
Wright joined Hewitt Refractories in 1977, adopting roles involving technical, laboratory back-up and quality control issues, and subsequently production management. When Hewitt Refractories became part of Dyson Group, Wright was appointed manufacturing manager for what, at that time, was a business spread over three sites. Ever since the kiln furniture manufacturing business was consolidated at the one site in Stoke-on-Trent, Wright has been responsible for managing operations at a senior level.
Green gained his ceramic manufacturing and technical experience during 17 years with Wedgwood, after which he joined kiln furniture company Acme Marls in an export sales role. Acme Marls became part of Dyson Group in 2000, and Green progressed from export sales to his subsequent appointment as commercial business manager of the new set-up. In addition to his broad technical knowledge of the product, Green has travelled all over the world and has strong links with all the major international and UK ceramics manufacturers.
In addition to marketing products from its Hartshill factory, Dyson Thermal Technologies had formed a strong alliance with Beijing Trend Industrial Ceramics (Tongzhou, Beijing, China), a cordierite kiln manufacturer. The companies began working together in 2006 as partners to supply kiln furniture to the global market. By training personnel at Beijing Trend, sharing techniques and integrating quality standards, it quickly became possible for Beijing Trend to make its whole range according to Dyson’s high-quality process and specification. The IPS Ceramics Team has announced that this manufacturing and commercial cooperation will continue following the MBO.
“IPS Ceramics will continue with what is already a long-term relationship with Beijing Trend,” said Guo Haizhu, managing director of Beijing Trend. “Trend and IPS will intensify this partnership in the future and capitalize on each other’s respective strengths in order to offer our global customers quality products, the highest levels of service, quicker delivery and the most competitive prices. We are confident that IPS/Trend will be the leader of the global kiln furniture market.”
“A carefully planned MBO was the only real option for the kiln furniture business, and we are grateful to the board of Dyson Group for having given us its support and encouragement,” said Green. “We are recognized as a team that, above all, understands the complexities of all our customers’ manufacturing operations, and we will find a way to come up with the right products at the right price, delivered according to the required schedule.
“We have already begun visiting and calling customers to introduce IPS Ceramics, and our future actions will demonstrate that we aim to continue with product development, to enhance technical performance at every level, to always set quality values as a priority and to maximize the potential of all facets of the business-from human resources to manufacturing capabilities to leveraging our geographical advantage.”
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