Rational has made some serious investments in stockholding and warehousing this year to prepare for disruptions related to Brexit, with its German factory even agreeing to deviate from its usual build-to-order model and ramp up stock in advance.
One can only assume that its willingness to make exceptions to its traditional manufacturing rule reflects the importance of the UK market to its business.
2018 was another strong one for the combi oven brand, with UK turnover up a healthy 7% to £61.8m, the first time it has exceeded the £60m mark.
It also means the business has doubled in size since 2011.
Growth was achieved across all product segments, with the VarioCookingCenter product line – which formerly went by the name of Frima – coming out on top after registering 9% growth.
The Luton-based outfit witnessed a 4% shift from the restaurant sector to mass catering in 2018 courtesy of solid industry growth in office canteens and strong demand from the education and healthcare markets, where it has traditionally been dominant.
Selling and distribution costs declined as the benefits of improvements in its logistics through first-time right order processing and delivery were felt on the balance sheet.
Operating costs rose by 4% as the company looked to consolidate overheads after a couple of years of heavy infrastructure investment, but it did expand its workforce by a further 6% with a particular focus on marketing and application functions to ensure it can offer full lifecycle support to clients.
Turnover: £61.85m (+7%)
Operating profit: £2.25m (+5%)
Employees: 72 (68)
Directors that served during the year: S Lohse, G Sauer
Ownership: The immediate and ultimate parent undertaking is Rational AG, incorporated in Germany.
Financial year end: 31 December 2018