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Real business story

It's The Small Things podcast: Will Butler-Adams, MD, Brompton Bicycle

"I employ people who have experience I don't have. My role is to tell them where we're heading and to leave them to tell me what they need to help us achieve it in their relevant departments," reveals Brompton Bicycle MD Will Butler-Adams.

The first episode of season two of It’s The Small Things welcomes Brompton Bicycle MD Will Butler-Adams. He built the business from 7,500 to 55,000 bikes a year with a relentless focus on cutting waste.

Will shares how the business evolved from its old school approach, where staff had a “meltdown” when he started talking about increasing capacity, to an ambitious, international brand that employs nearly 300 people.

The episode has advice on driving efficiencies in manufacturing, including sourcing ideas from staff and getting inspiration from site visits to other firms. You’ll also learn about how management nurtured a culture where every member of staff can push innovation forward – and about the invention that caused a “blooming Nora” reaction.

The full podcast episode is available on all major platforms and immediately below. Click through to find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Acast, Spotify and SoundCloud and subscribe to make sure you don't miss out on new episodes. We've also got some behind the scenes action to set the scene and showcase why Brompton is such an exciting business to learn from.

Read at your leisure

Access the full Brompton Bicycle podcast transcript

Making changes in the business

Putting insights into action

Discover how, like Will, you can get better at balancing short-term needs with long-term targets?

Start making small improvements today

"Ambition creates focus, it creates alignment behind a single vision. If everybody just does their best, they might be pulling in different directions and therefore not moving the company forward. So, ambition is a catalyst for delivering growth."

Will Butler-Adams – Brompton Bicycle

Go behind the scenes

Technology doesn't have to be complicated

Take a leaf out of Brompton Bicycle's book by starting your technology adoption journey with small steps.

See how accessible tech is

Hear what a typical day for Will is like

Make the right voices heard

A good communication strategy will help ensure problem areas are highlighted early.

Improve the communication in your business
Brompton Bicycle business improvement
Case Study.

Learn more about how an obsession with waste at Brompton Bicycle drove a five-fold increase in manufacturing capacity

Lessons learnt

Waste isn't just what your staff physically throw in the bin – it comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it's wasted meetings or underperforming marketing, identifying it helps shape business improvement.

While their job title may say one thing, their hidden abilities and ambition may say something else entirely. Create the space for all employees to question processes, showcase talents and be the driving force behind constructive change.

Take a leaf out of Will's book by adopting ant steps. Just like the It's The Small Things podcast, he places big value on building up lots of little improvements to help shift the needle on big ambitions.