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Success for server producer under new ownership.

Sight Systems : 12 November, 2007  (Company News)
Sight Systems thrives under new ownership after management buyout spurred by buoyancy in market for large scale Octoblade servers.
Just four months ago, Craig Blackman led a management buyout of Sight Systems; the Worthing based industrial computer designers and suppliers. Now, with renewed focus, the company is projecting a 25% increase in turnover in its first year under new ownership.

After 18 months of discussions, it took just 6 weeks to agree the terms of the Sight Systems management buyout. Craig Blackman finally took over at the helm on 13th July 2007, his first time in full control of a company.

Sight Systems was established in 1988 and quickly generated a diverse client base covering defence, aerospace, industrial control and broadcast industries. Employing a young and dynamic team, the company built a reputation for creating quality solutions for its clients.

Craig joined Sight Systems in June 1998 as a Junior Systems Engineer after obtaining his GNVQ in IT. In 2005 he was appointed General Manager and in 2007 he rose to Operations Director. His insight into the running of the business and client requirements stood him in good stead for negotiating the buyout and the board approved his proposal with confidence.

Now, with renewed focus, Craig has ambitious plans for growing the business that include new manufacturing, marketing and communication strategies whilst remaining true to the company's core values; efficiency, quality and service.

"There have been instances in the past when we've had to pass up on opportunities for business purely because we believed that we didn't have the capability to fulfil the order," explained Craig "I have no doubt that, at the time, this was the right decision; after all, we have a duty to our clients to deliver quality products on time. But these problems were generally created by the 'peak and trough' nature of the business in the past. Now, we are concentrating on smoothing out this trading pattern in order to allow us to invest in greater manufacturing capability."

"By managing the manufacturing process more closely we have been able to increase our production at peak times and, by developing our marketing strategy, we have been able to generate orders for times when we are less busy. In the medium term, this will generate enough retained profit for us to invest in a larger manufacturing plant."

The company's investment in marketing has mainly concentrated on the development of an effective database and reviewing the communications strategy.

"I've been amazed at the effectiveness of database marketing" continued Craig "And it's quite a simple process too. My first focus was to re-open communication with previous clients. Many of these had simply fallen by the wayside because we had completed a project and hadn't kept in touch. By re-establishing contact with these companies we have been able to develop more repeat business. And because of our smoother trading pattern we are able to cope effectively."

Craig is also exploring a number of partnerships that will allow the company to develop its bespoke designs into turnkey solutions. He believes that this is a manageable growth area that could positively affect the company's future "There is no doubt that Sight Systems will always continue to create bespoke solutions for industry," said Craig "but we should not ignore new directions, especially when we have the skills and capabilities to deliver."

"We are currently talking to a number of companies, including wiring specialists Time 24, in order to develop turnkey solutions for industry."

There is no doubt that the decision to explore turnkey solutions has been based upon the success of Sight Systems first off the shelf product - OctoBlade - which has been well received by the aerospace industry.

OctoBlade contains eight Intel Core2 Duo processors in an unprecedented 500mm deep 4U modular system, and Craig believes that the ingenuity of its design and success of its sales are testament to the skills and expertise of his team. Having found homes with jet engine manufacturers in Spain, France and the UK, Sight Systems are now anticipating a US launch for the innovative blade server.

"The key to OctoBlade was to make an exceptionally compact and powerful blade server that remains quiet [typical noise level of less than 60dB (A)] and cool to touch, even if it is left on permanently," explained Craig "I'm exceptionally proud of the product and my team for developing it."

In just 4 months, Craig has managed to implement change that is delivering tangible results. With his sights firmly set on a bright future and a talented team to support him he believes that there are no limits for the future success of the company.

"We've certainly made a good start," said Craig "But there's no time to rest on our laurels, we have to keep going, pushing the boundaries and delivering excellent solutions for our clients."
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