Supply chain and logistics consultancy Labyrinth joins BigChange

23 January 2019

Professional services firm BigChange has completed a deal to bring UK supply chain consultancy Labyrinth into its fold. The move comes as part of a twin deal, which also adds Trace Systems, a logistics software firm, to BigChange’s global offering.

Supply chain consultants help their clients navigate change across a range of areas, including manufacturing/production, inbound/outbound logistics and supply chain execution. They also support organisations with optimising their overall supply chain network design, operational planning within chains, risk management and supply chain sustainability.

With an estimated market size of more than £1 billion, operations and supply chain consulting is the second largest segment within UK’s £1- billion management consulting industry, following the fast-growing digital & technology domain. On top of this, as the end of the Brexit approaches amid as much uncertainty as when it commenced, supply chain and logistics specialists are unsurprisingly turning to consultants in large numbers, and this has prompted an M&A feeding frenzy in the sector.

Most recently, this has seen mobile workforce technology professional services firm BigChange buy up new software and consulting capabilities. The deal represents the first purchase that BigChange has made since it launched in 2013, and the firm hopes it will provide the company with the people and technology it needs to move forward with future expansion plans.

Supply chain and logistics consultancy Labyrinth joins BigChange

Labyrinth Logistics Consulting is an award-winning supply chain and logistics consultancy based in Royal Leamington Spa. Labyrinth provides logistics strategy, compliance and procurement consultancy, alongside a self-audit software application called SilkThread, to major transport, logistics, FMCG, and retail organisations in the UK. Labyrinth’s Directors, Ruth Waring and Jo Godsmark, will join BigChange’s leadership team and spearhead a new consulting arm called BigChange Advisory Plus.

Ruth Waring, Managing Director of Labyrinth Logistics Consulting, commented, “We are very excited to be part of BigChange. It is a strong, growing business that complements our offering very well indeed. As part of BigChange, we can develop a more comprehensive consultancy offering and take it to many more organisations around the world.”

The deal comes as part of a double swoop, which has added well as over 100 new customers, as well as providing a multi-million revenue boost. Elsewhere, following its purchase, Coventry based Trace Systems, an established provider of fleet, garage and workshop management software, will see its asset and stock management capabilities integrated into BigChange’s JobWatch platform. Trace works with fleet operators across the UK, including plant hire and haulage companies, local authorities and the emergency services. Trace’s founder, Bill Davies, will work as an advisor to BigChange.

Bill Davies, Founder of Trace Systems, remarked, “Having built a business over 30 years we see the sale of Trace Systems to BigChange as the next chapter in our development.  It will allow us to transform our fleet, garage and workshop software to take full advantage of the latest cloud and mobile technology pioneered by BigChange. This will provide fantastic opportunities for our existing and future customers.”

Martin Port, Founder and CEO of BigChange, added, “We are delighted to complete the acquisitions of Labyrinth and Trace. They represent a significant milestone for our business and a major boost to our scale up plans.”

Nigel Hoyle, a Partner at Blacks Solicitors in Leeds and Graham Pearce, Head of Technology at KPMG, advised BigChange on both deals. Pearce said of the acquisitions, “I’m thrilled to have helped BigChange cement its position as a leading vendor, adding these exciting capabilities to its portfolio. With these two acquisitions, BigChange will continue to be at the forefront of technology in the UK and the rest of the world.”

Supply chain deals

Elsewhere in the supply chain consulting arena, 2017 saw Berkhamsted based LCP Consulting acquired by international consultancy BearingPoint. Around 30 management consultants transferred to BearingPoint as a result, taking the firm’s UK footprint to 300+ consultants, and significantly strengthening its supply chain and retail capabilities. Meanwhile, in 2018, British management consultancy Crimson & Co merged with French firm Argon, to create a new global group. The combined entity brought together Argon’s consulting and operations prowess with the international reach of the supply chain focused Crimson.

As well as mergers and acquisitions, the growing demand for supply chain consulting has also led to a number of corporate alliances, between firms looking to tap into the rich vein of business. Late in 2018, this saw Thought Provoking Consulting announce a partnership with AI consulting firm Catalyst AI, as they looked to help more clients in the sector improve their supply chains and find savings and improvements to operations. Then at the start of 2019, EY declared an alliance with Kinaxis to help clients similarly modernise their supply chains.


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”