Colin Prout’s Journey


My journey to Iter has been interesting and varied and has provided a unique insight that I bring when working with clients to achieve their goals.

I was raised working in my family’s tailoring business so early on developed a deep appreciation of entrepreneurship and the need for customer service but spent as much time rebuilding old cars for profit which lead to my becoming a Chartered Mechanical Engineer.

I was sponsored by Rolls-Royce Aero whilst studying but my taste for challenge and adventure got the better of me. Faced with the choice of  the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors, the Royal Navy and the Royal Airforce I joined the latter on graduating, serving as an Engineer Officer on Hercules, Phantom and Tornado aircraft and as the commanding officer of a Tornado aero engine overhaul facility.

The Air Force introduced me to travel and more specifically Africa where I delivered famine relief in Ethiopia in 1984/5. This provided a lesson in balancing compliance with the need to get the job done and it was during selection for the royal Air Force that I met my fellow Iter Director Tim Richardson and 35 years later we are miraculously still talking.

On completing my commission, I entered manufacturing management working for several well-known and some less-well known (but far more interesting) companies and these provided a whole raft of lessons as to how to and how not to do things for example:

  • How to; Introducing Jit, Kanban, Single piece flow, Vendor Managed Inventory and Total Quality into a rapidly growing business staffed by a mix of “Transcendental Mediators” and “Scousers”.
  • How not to; spending each Monday afternoon running through a three-inch-thick block of Z-fold MAPICS computer output robbing Peter to pay Paul to enable us to build the whole month’s output in the last week of the month!

During that time, I completed my MBA prior to branching out and setting up my own retail, wholesale, distribution company trading with Africa and the Far East. This expanded my skills, knowledge and experience and the business grew well only being compromised by my partner and my decision to have 4 children in under 5 years. (if a job’s worth doing…)

Whilst running my business I was asked if I could give something back to Liverpool by providing business counselling in a deprived, inner city ward, and after some convincing to take the role I went on to support the set up over 200 business, before managing the Social Enterprise itself and becoming an accredited business counsellor.

This lead me to further work as Development Manager of a Community TV project, and into project and programme management delivering large scale IT system implementation/business transformation programmes for the Home Office, BT, and a range of local government clients.

Throughout the above my interest in manufacturing and supply chain never faltered and having returned to consultancy and building a track record of successful transformation for a range of UK and Global clients. These have focussed on lean, supply chain & inventory optimisation, manufacturing system selection and implementation and cultural change.

Throughout my journey, I’ve been privileged to work with many great people who have taught me many lessons. They have shown me:

  • How to relish a challenge but manage the odds through careful planning and control.
  • The power of people and how to Identify their strengths and weaknesses and how to develop/harness them to deliver results.
  • The importance of listening in delivering understanding and the right solutions.
  • To strive to develop and deliver elegant solutions. If they look and feel right they probably are right!
  • The importance of eliminating waste!

I bring these skills and approach to Iter and its clients and always look forward to working with new and existing clients.


Colin really solidly understood the business quickly and was incredibly flexible in the way he worked to fit in with our changing circumstances. We have already recommended him to another business.

Mark Dowell, Managing Director Insitution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Engineering Training Solutions and Sonaspection.