Tim Richardson’s Journey


An abiding childhood memory is one of my father, a carpenter, crafting a piece of furniture out of a stack of wood. This started my fascination with making things and to this day, I still get a buzz walking round a factory, whether it is making bricks, books or pharmaceuticals.

At 16, I “escaped” school and started an electronics apprenticeship within the defence arm of the Phillips group. My passion for learning had been rekindled and 6-years later I emerged with 4-years of practical experience, a degree in Electronic Engineering and a recognition that my real talent was in managing people, not technology.

Joining the RAF as an Engineer Officer provided the opportunity I sought; managing a 24/7 operation with 60 people on the first Tornado flying station in the UK at age 23. At the end of a 5-year short service commission, I emerged with my enthusiasm for managing people reinforced and a life time friendship with Colin, my fellow director at Iter, established.

After completing the Fellowship in Manufacturing Management programme at Cranfield, the most influential period of my corporate career began at Eurotherm. Having progressed through a series of roles, I became Operations Manager within 3 years and in this role I led the delivery of a nationally acclaimed lean implementation. The reference sites of today simply didn’t exist at that time, forcing us to define and deliver an organisational approach and culture from first principles. This remains an achievement that I remain hugely proud of 25 years on.

The next step of my journey was as Operations Director of Cox and Wyman’s, the UK’s largest printer of paperback books. This involved managing a highly-unionised workforce that was far less receptive and more challenging than at Eurotherm. However, the same focus on “doing the right things” was just as applicable and seeing the change in mind set was just as rewarding and beneficial. Everyone really does want to be proud of what they do.

My final corporate experience was as MD of a BTR subsidiary. This taught me many lessons, the primary one being that you can’t build a business through cutting cost alone and that if your personal values are not aligned with the values of a business, then no amount of effort will create a path to success. I believed a new direction was required, and so over 21 years ago my consultancy career began, starting at The Consultancy Company.

My time with The Consultancy Company has been the second influential period of my working life. The diversity of environments, people and issues makes consultancy endlessly fascinating, challenging and rewarding. Hopefully my many clients feel the same.

So, after 20 years of consultancy what do I bring to Iter:

  • An undimmed passion for the potential of manufacturing and supply chain operations to deliver sustainable competitive advantage.
  • The ability to understand the most complex challenges and the clarity of thinking to distil-out the key issues, approaches and solutions.
  • The recognition that changes are only sustainable by changing hearts and minds and that this is often the true measure of success.
  • The ability to build the best teams to fit the technical and cultural needs of any assignment.

Above all, I bring the desire to provide real world solutions that use the latest thinking, approaches and emerging technologies, without being blindly seduced by them.

Tim leads an excellent group of Operations Consultants who have completed a number of Supply Chain-focused projects for us that have made a significant difference to business performance. In addition Tim has supported me with his understanding of cultural issues in a manufacturing based business.

James Neville

Owner, Volac International