David Appleton


Personal Bio

David Appleton has proven experience of profit improvement through margin growth and overhead cost reduction. Recent experience includes post acquisition integration, strategic business transformation projects, change management and systems implementation. He has worked with SME’s to FTSE 250/100 and international companies including Wolseley, DHL, Amazon, Volvo, DS Smith, Lavendon, Hertz.

Profit Improvement 

• Margin improvement of over £250k p.a. through performance evaluation of products, sectors, customers and branches with targeted action plans for further improvements

• Pricing strategy review at product, customer and sector level leading to additional £300k revenue p.a.

• Profit leakage reduction of over £100k p.a. through better use of rebate agreements, discounting and waste management

• Overhead cost reduction of £600k p.a. through deep dive and reduction of controllable costs such as overtime, third party labour and other indirect cost


Business Planning

• Design and delivery of annual budgeting processes for multiple profit and cost centre businesses including consolidation, commercial review, challenge and presentation to Board level

• Key stakeholder management including Sector owners, Regional Directors, Branch Managers and the Senior Team

• Development of in year forecasting at branch and customer level including central overlays for commercial initiatives

• Cash flow management and forecasting including debtor payment recovery planning; £0.5m reduction in debtors in 3 weeks

• Balance sheet improvement planning including fixed asset utilisation review, inventory control, debtor and creditor management


Change Management 

• Financial management of several large business change projects such as post acquisition commercial review, asset investment, transport optimisation, branch openings and closures, new customer wins and cultural change management

• Training of finance and non-finance professionals on impacts of system change and reduction of negative business impact

• Promoting the role of commercial finance to help managers own their numbers and understand key P&L influencers such as margin and cost control


System Implementation & Improvement

• Implementation of systems such as Sage 200, pensions auto- enrolment, payroll, time & attendance, data warehouse and business intelligence tools

• Using advanced excel skills improved month end processes to reduce month end timetables

• Implemented financial and KPI reporting including weekly reporting delivered by Monday lunchtime


Interim Commercial Manager/FD 

• Management of the annual Branch Targets exercise; branch level budgeting of revenue (£350m), margin and overheads for over 40 profit and cost centres including budget model preparation, consolidation and commercial evaluation/challenge. Key stakeholder management including Pillar owners, Regional Directors, Branch Managers and the Senior Team

• Commercial evaluation and ongoing project involvement of a major Transport project involving additional software to offer more cost effective load and route planning, annual cost savings circa £2.5m

• Business partnering including review of branch profitability involving closures, relocation, branch performance and Customer/Branch product alignment

• Projects to minimize profit leakage through “off system” activity such as stock adjustments, purchase invoice variances, contract claims recognition and rebate analysis


Commercial Finance Business Partner

• Leading a business wide Commercial Excellence program with 2 direct reports generating year on year savings of >£600k though reducing waste, reviewing machine capacity/associated shift patterns and customer/product evaluation

• Financial and commercial appraisal of several key customer contracts worth over £15m p.a.

• Capex control for projects worth over £3m including 2 site closures, one new site and several improvement projects without impact on day to day manufacturing operation

• Redesign of business processes and business financial support following migration of management accounts, AP and AR to remote SSC including the loss of 4 site based finance team members. Delivering month end flash reporting in 2.5 working days.


Interim Finance Director

• Complete overhaul of management accounting process making best use of, and implementation of, Sage 200

• Restructuring team of 6 to establish management accounts function and dedicated transactional processing

• Pensions Auto Enrollment implementation for 200 employees

• Reduction in aged debt of £500k in 2 months

• Due diligence activity on a potential joint venture


Site Controller

• Leading a team of 3 Business Analysts, commercial and business support to site management team

• Review, challenge and explanation of daily and weekly metrics to UK and EU Leadership Team

• Weekly forecasting, variance commentary and investment appraisal

Here is David Appletons expertise on good business planning, understanding cash flow, and management information.