From small beginnings to sizzling success
Over the last 25 years, Westaway Sausages has transformed from a startup company to one that leads in innovation and performance in the competitive meat products sector, with support from Lloyds Bank.
Read time: 4 mins Added: 26/06/2023
Charles Baughan’s family have been making sausages for over 100 years. The family’s first shop was established in 1898; in 1998, Charles first met Newton Abbot based Westaway Sausages and in 2008 he and his wife took over the company.
An additive solution
With the business increasing its revenue by consistent double-digit growth over recent years Westaway Sausages needed a more flexible financing facility than its historic overdraft facility was able to provide. The decision was made to migrate from an overdraft to invoice finance, a solution that lets businesses borrow against their accounts receivable to generate cash quickly.
“The flexibility of the invoice finance solution meant we could grow the business without the need to apply for additional borrowing,” Ilona says. “As the business has continued to grow, we made a conscious decision to continue with invoice finance as it gave us confidence to bid for further high-volume business knowing that the funding would track the volumes upwards allowing us to focus on customer payments and maintain a smooth cash flow.”
The business’ consistent growth, supported by invoice finance, has helped it handle the growing sales volumes without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated.
Charles agrees that the availability of financing through Lloyds Bank has enabled them to “pursue significant opportunities with purchasers” while also helping to bridge the gap between payment terms with suppliers and customers, particularly in situations where larger customers can demand longer payment terms.
Built on sustainability
This efficiency is helping the business deliver sustainable outcomes too. Charles’ long-held passion for sustainability has led to the business winning the prestigious “Made in the South West Sustainable/Ethical Manufacturer Award 2022” and Westaway are now representing the South West Region in the National Final of this award to be held in Liverpool in late June 2023.
He says: “I am lucky enough to live in a fabulous part of the country in Devon and I once found plastic waste on the beach left behind from a beach barbecue; this was a plastic tray exactly the same as the plastic trays we were using to tray our sausages. This shocked me and prompted us to challenge the market and find a way to reduce the use of plastic in our business.
After much experimentation we chose to transition to compostable materials and developed a compostable cardboard tray for our sausages. We were the sole producer in the UK to do so at the time.
Geoff Hunt, Client Manager at Lloyds Bank, expresses admiration for the passion and commitment demonstrated by the Baughans over time. “Charles and Ilona have shown the importance of maintaining strong relationships with suppliers, which includes making timely payments,” he says. “I look forward to helping them both achieve their ambition in the years to come.”
Meanwhile, driving value and further efficiency into Westaway Sausages' operations is high on the agenda this year. Charles mentions their recent investment in artificial intelligence via augmented machines which has driven further efficiency in their productivity.
Despite not having a dedicated sales team, there is an increasing awareness of and demand for their pioneering approach on sustainability. This is resulting in a very healthy sales pipeline in all sectors and the company is looking forward to developing new partnerships and continuing to work with Lloyds Bank on their journey.