Hal Reisiger, Chief Executive Officer at Cosworth, describes how adjusting the company’s focus and investing in advanced manufacturing technologies helped them stay ahead of their rivals.
Hal Reisiger, Chief Executive Officer, Cosworth
My role at Cosworth, as Group CEO, is to be responsible for the strategic direction and the financial performance for all the Cosworth companies within the global group. We design and manufacture performance, electronics and powertrain for motorsport, high performance limited production road cars and for aftermarket. Being CEO of Cosworth you’re responsible for a historic brand. I think the best lesson I’ve ever learned is ask why five times. Never take an immediate response or answer at face value and make sure I understand the details as well as anybody else.
What we have positioned ourselves to do is to design and manufacture engines in a volume that most other companies don’t find attractive or not capable of doing cost effectively. There, to the best of our knowledge, is nobody that’s an independent engine manufacturer that encompasses all the capabilities that our facilities do. Few people would be aware that we are manufacturing the next generation UAV engine for military unmanned aerial vehicles. Another would be that we have won the second most Formula 1 championships behind Ferrari. I think the third would be that we are one of the few companies that are capable of going from new engine design to a running engine in 12 months.
So to support the strategy we changed the company structure and we also, as a part of that structure, decided that we needed advanced manufacturing capabilities. Once we’d defined that requirement, then you had to define how to fund that requirement and that was when we reached out to a number of potential finance partners before settling on Close Brothers.
As a middle market manufacturer of engineer products, there are few financial providers that like working in that space. So, one was to make sure that we had a partner and I emphasise partner that understood our needs and they were exceptional in their response and their effort to understand our manufacturing requirements, the partners we work with and, over time, the requirements evolved and they continually communicated with us to make sure they understood the requirements and how they could best support our needs.
We chose Close Brothers because of their willingness and ability to adapt to the changing requirements. You have an idea when you are developing a state of the art facility what you’d like that to be and then, as you’re going through the planning process, the requirements change and they were very attentive to the changing requirements and worked very closely with us to make sure that the financing package matched the changing requirements.
The emphasis that they placed on supporting our needs was instrumental in this factory being built within the timeline. We went from planning, to the facility being up and running in approximately 14 months and all the equipment financing, and all the equipment delivery was planned and that wasn’t possible without their support. When we were evaluating machine tool suppliers and we wanted the most state of the art advanced machine tool systems available, and we became aware that Close Brothers had a relationship with Matsuura, and we were able to benefit from the two premier partners in advanced CNC tool systems and in financial support, that were available on the market and that’s a unique benefit that we’ve had that I don’t know other companies are benefitting from. We do plan on working more with Close Brothers and the best indication I can give you is that we’re looking at planning another advanced manufacturing centre and they’re going to be the first people we call for financing.