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GW half-year financial report out, 53% growth year-on-year


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#1
N1SB

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Hi, it's me, I just shortened my handle, but still looking at length at GW's financial reports.  Half-year report just out:

 

https://19485-pressc...for-IR-site.pdf

 

One year ago, I agreed with 8th ed 40k rumours, and went further to anticipate some sort of "Season of War"-like summer campaign for 8th ed, and suggested GW stock was a: BUY.  I was right.  A few months ago (Sept) I anticipated GW revenue would go up 40%+.

 

It turns out if anything my estimate was too conservative.  At this half-year milestone, GW revenue is up +53% year-on-year.  That's no small feat, considering the year BEFORE they had already grown 28%, so realise it's a high bar on top of a high bar.

 

What's more impressive, and something we suspected, is that GW has surprisingly low marginal costs, because while revenue went up 53%, their profits shot up +181%.  Just so it's clear that's not a typo, that's ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY ONE percent.

 

+++++

 

Just in case you want to check my previous claims about my predictions last year, here was my post.  I'll mention one related point later:

 

http://www.bolterand...m-gw/?p=4628374

 

I just want to remind you of some things that crossed my mind as I flipped through the report.

 

- remember this isn't a press release or a brochure.  GW HAS to release this for shareholder and tax purposes, so this isn't just fluff

 

- the +181% increase reminded me of how the share price went up about +170%-ish a few weeks back.  Just a number in the back of my head

 

- these numbers measure from June 1 to Nov 26 (they need some time to compile report), so doesn't really include the Christmas sales spike

 

The most significant thing I observed was where the growth was highest.  No doubt there was huge growth, but it's always interesting to note if there was any area where growth was higher than others, because they reveal what numbers (and often the CEO) won't tell you.

 

To compare, about one year ago I made a huge point about how Place & Promotion at Trade (i.e. FLGS) and Retail (i.e. Warhammer Stores) showed HIGHER growth than Mail Order.  I attributed to that as they were really pushing Age of Sigmar with the General's Handbook that fixed some of the issues with the game, then drove it home with a campaign event that...guess what...was played at those places with results entered there, too.

 

This year, growth across all 3 segments of Trade (+63%), Retail (+35%), Mail Order (+71%), suggests it was more Product-driven I think...the Product being 8th ed and Primaris/Death Guard/etc.  I say this because GW's Retail (i.e. Warhammer Stores) are...though we may mock red shirts...the most dedicated sales force for GW.  So it wasn't salesmanship or demos or a summer campaign that drove the growth.

 

+++++

 

IMPORTANT EDIT - the issue with Retail i.e. Warhammer Stores being the slowest growing segment has been gnawing at me.

 

I'm returning to this, looking at why Retail is actually lower...and I'm thinking it's a Happy Problem (partly because 35% is miracle-like growth regardless).  Retail represents existing customers, the regulars that go to the Warhammer Stores, and the majority of us were going to buy 8th ed anyway.  The Channels that are FLGS and Mail Order might represent NEW or LAPSED customers that hadn't thought about 40k until recently.

 

I'm actually very happy about that, increasing sales not just because of a near-"compulsory" upgrade to 8th, but more people are interested in 40k.  And Necromunda, because that falls in the timeframe of this report.  (I suspect the little bump in Mail Order includes FW growing with Blood Bowl.)

 

ALTERNATE TAKE - the other way to look at this is that Retail segment is smaller because customers are UNDER-served.  What that means is there's so many Warhammer Stores out there; a lot were newly opened, a lot were closed.  They can only cover so much territory.  Trades i.e. FLGS covers a larger area, there's more stores, so they were able to capture greater growth.  The closest thing without boundaries is Mail Order; anyone can shop online, even if they don't live near a Warhammer Store or a FLGS.

 

It's not really a problem because Retail is expensive, the least profitable segment, rent is high, red shirts are an overhead (I love my red shirt, but he's got a family to feed).  But this does show a hard upper bound, it's "money left on the table".  That said...GW's actually hit an upper bound!

 

+++++

 

TL;DR - Last year showed AoS really needed to be pushed.  This year showed people were ready to buy 40k 8th.  And boy, did we.

 

P.S. I long had this gut feel...not very good modern marketing, where everything is data-driven...but I always felt of GW customers maybe 1/3 were Warhammer Fantasy fans and 2/3 were 40k fans.  Looking at how much higher the growth was, I want to revise that to maybe only 1/4 are Fantasy fans and 3/4 are 40k fans, or that 40k fans just buy a frag-ton more.  Probably a little bit of both,  I'm not bashing Fantasy as I was the the big AoS Season of War player at my FLGS, and there WERE some AoS things introduced these past 6 months, but something to keep in mind.

 

+++++

 

UPDATE - a lot of people mentioned supply chain issues i.e. GW had production problems, electricity grid, etc.

 

Welp, it turns out, this half-year GW showed their plant, property, equipment grew about 10% (more than 2 million pounds, they invested a almost 5 million pounds but I guess some of it was to replace old stuff) after a steady decline/cost-cutting for the last 10 years.  They also seem to have taken a loan?  It looks like they borrowed money to expand manufacturing capacity already, and now they have the cash to expand even further.  It's good news but also necessary because, forgot about growing, they just had a huge growth spurt, but just maintaining this level takes extra capacity I should think.  And it looks like GW's investing in the future.


Edited by N1SB, 13 January 2018 - 02:14 PM.

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#2
chamberlainskeksil

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"Key to this sales performance has been our commitment to talking with our customers."

 

Who would have thought?


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#3
Xwingt65

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Dang. That is awesome. This promises much more plastic crack in the future.
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The 40k fluff explained to an outsider:

Some space elves got really into drugs and sex and a big scary monster got born that ate them.
A space wizard got beaten up by a guy who said he was his friend but wasn't and now he's on a life support machine and people worship him because he was super awesome.
Now there are giant men with rocket launcher machine guns and 4 hearts and are really super awesome who beat up everything.
Also there's a bunch of aliens but they don't really do anything and aren't as cool as the rocket machine gun super men, so who cares?

#4
Tylydox

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I wish I had money to invest, when 8 years ago a friend of a friend, who worked as a stock broker at one of the friendly gatherings suggested to get some GW shares for the retirement portfolio.



#5
twopounder

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"Key to this sales performance has been our commitment to talking with our customers."

Who would have thought?


And not trying to sue them or publicly berate their legal system when gw doesn't get it's way helps too :D

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#6
ShadowSwordmaster

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Awesome to hear.


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#7
Triszin

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shoulda bought that stock a year and a half ago o.o


banana


#8
Sete

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Good news for the company overall. Maybe they will have enough money for plastic sisters and a black Templars codex :D

Edited by Sete, 10 January 2018 - 03:01 PM.

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#9
Captain Rex

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This is from todays Sun Newspaper: (page 43)

 

Games Workshop has notched up record half year sales - thanks to tabletop game Warhammer.

The Nottingham based fantasy miniature maker said sales in the six months to November 28 rocketed 54 per cent t0 £108.9 million

Profits jumped from £13.8 million to 38.8 million while online sales soared by 71 per cent.

Boss Kevin Rountree said "these cracking results are built on hard work continuing to focus on making and selling an even better range of Warhammer miniature".

 

Rex



#10
depthcharge12

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I’m sure the previous president (he who shall not be named) is eating his fair share of crow right about now :P

This is good news as it means that the current executive staff (who have been doing great) will stay in charge for the foreseeable future. Literally all they have to do is not mess it up lol
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#11
NiceGuyAdi

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Now they just need to invest that money into a way of generating enough power to actually use their third injection mould machine. Building an incinerator and feeding 1,000 unsanctioned psykers into it each day should just about do it.


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#12
Urriak Urruk

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Now they just need to invest that money into a way of generating enough power to actually use their third injection mould machine. Building an incinerator and feeding 1,000 unsanctioned psykers into it each day should just about do it.

 

I hope GW is thinking about expanding production, but part of me thinks they won't. The idea being, why would they focus on expanding production when the current system of more limited supply/releases and high prices clearly makes them a ton of $$$.

 

If I was in control, I'd push to invest in further production to get an even bigger edge of supply-chain management with superior miniatures over competition... but I'm not in control am I?


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#13
Spinsanity

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If I was in control, I'd push to invest in further production to get an even bigger edge of supply-chain management with superior miniatures over competition... but I'm not in control am I?

While I have no clue if it's true, you've heard of their power supply issues, right?

I'm not sure I want to see GW take as big a risk as creating a GWPower subsidiary...

#14
Urriak Urruk

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If I was in control, I'd push to invest in further production to get an even bigger edge of supply-chain management with superior miniatures over competition... but I'm not in control am I?

While I have no clue if it's true, you've heard of their power supply issues, right?

I'm not sure I want to see GW take as big a risk as creating a GWPower subsidiary...

 

 

Yeah I've heard of them. It constrains their current production if true, and definitely stops upscaling production in that factory. But I don't see much stopping them from investing in production in other regions of the UK or in other countries, other than of course the up-front fixed costs.



#15
N1SB

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Brothers, stay frosty, it looks like they're doing stuff on the supply chain side.

 

1st, they actually increased Property, Plant and Equipment for the 1st time since like 10 years ago.  Doesn't say exactly what, but it's been on the decline practically every year until now.  That means for the 1st time since forever, and it might have reflected new inefficiencies in the past decade, but they're putting money in plants.

 

Edit - just so you have an idea, they increased about it 10% or 2 million GBP worth, and probably will expand it more.  What they actually invested was closer to 5 million pounds, but I guess some of it was to replace old equipment or something, it's like a net increase of 2 mil.

 

The new CEO also hints at something with improving supply chain management.  He doesn't use that term, but he mentions upgrading the ERP system, for one.  ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning (I know to those of that play MMOs, it stands for something hilariously different, and it took me awhile to understand).  That suggestions not only had they put more in physical assets, but it's likely they're buffing their IT system to better anticipate what you'll buy.

 

That suggests they're thinking about this.  Not only are they investing in plants, but they're making sure they're producing more of what people want, by anticipating their purchase behaviour and making more of those things in advance.  I mention this because it took like 2 months for them to send me my Basilisks.


Edited by N1SB, 13 January 2018 - 02:16 PM.

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#16
sfPanzer

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I’m sure the previous president (he who shall not be named) is eating his fair share of crow right about now tongue.png

This is good news as it means that the current executive staff (who have been doing great) will stay in charge for the foreseeable future. Literally all they have to do is not mess it up lol

The former CEO is still part of the company and now earns good money without getting :cuss for ruining the company. It's more or less a win-win for him still. ^^


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Disclaimer:

If my posts appear rude to you, I apologize. It's not meant to be rude in any way, it's just the way folks are in my country. It's really more about being direct than being rude. I know how it's perceived in the english speaking community and I already try to tone it down but I barely notice when it's too much since it's normal for me.


So yeah, I'm really not rude it's basically just cultural differences that act against me here. Again, I apologize.

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#17
Apothecary Vaddon

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Used to work in the ERP space - good to hear they're looking at it. I don't know what backend they were using but if they're looking to come into newer spaces a lot of the ERP software out there tightly integrates with supply management; I worked specifically on Microsoft's Dynamics AX, but most ERPs have that kind of thing built in. Lets you track specifics about your supply lines much more easily.


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#18
Marshal Rohr

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N1SB, what’s the over/under on this being sustainable?
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Your opinion is important, and someone posting here probably does care what you think. You should go tell them. Remember that it really hurts to come up with an idea you care about and have no one else care. Go care about something and tell them what you think. Now. Think of what it would have meant to you when you were young.

 

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#19
depthcharge12

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Used to work in the ERP space - good to hear they're looking at it. I don't know what backend they were using but if they're looking to come into newer spaces a lot of the ERP software out there tightly integrates with supply management; I worked specifically on Microsoft's Dynamics AX, but most ERPs have that kind of thing built in. Lets you track specifics about your supply lines much more easily.


I’ll have to pm you - I’m going into ERP consulting on the functional side. Honestly, with how big they are, I would’ve thought they would utilize SAP but perhaps they don’t want to sink money into it with the previously unstable economy.

Good to hear they’re putting more into long term assets considering they’ve got a huge portion sunk into inventory. Hopefully this will help generate less waste and improve their bottom line.
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#20
Polak

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Also there is another hurdle still on the loom, and that is Brexit. With possible import/export fees they might need to invest in mainland Europe to be able supply the market as cost efficient as possible.


Edited by Polak, 10 January 2018 - 08:20 PM.


#21
Bulwyf

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They need to use these funds to:

 

Give us the Space Wolves codex with a returning Russ and new model range

 

Give us Emperor's Children codex with a returning Fulgrim and new model range

 

Give us World Eater's codex with a returning Angron and new model range

 

Give us plastic Sisters of Battle


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#22
BadSanta

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May be anyone know where to obtain such report for a Forgeworld Plc.?


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#23
klisof

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May be anyone know where to obtain such report for a Forgeworld Plc.?

FW and black library are part of the GW group and unless i am reading it wrong are included in this report. This statement is on pg 12 about how they are recalculating the 2016 results -

"In addition mail order segment revenue of £2,143,000 for the six months to 27 November 2016 previously reported as non-core mail order and £10,283,000 previously reported as Citadel and Forge World are now reported together as Mail order which reflects the management structure in place at 28 May 2017 and 26 November 2017. "

Edited by klisof, 10 January 2018 - 09:24 PM.

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#24
BadSanta

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May be anyone know where to obtain such report for a Forgeworld Plc.?

FW and black library are part of the GW group and unless i am reading it wrong are included in this report. This statement is on pg 12 about how they are recalculating the 2016 results -

"In addition mail order segment revenue of £2,143,000 for the six months to 27 November 2016 previously reported as non-core mail order and £10,283,000 previously reported as Citadel and Forge World are now reported together as Mail order which reflects the management structure in place at 28 May 2017 and 26 November 2017. "

 

 

Thank you! I somehow missed this statement.


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#25
N1SB

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"Key to this sales performance has been our commitment to talking with our customers."

 

Who would have thought?

 

 

It's a good point, but for those just glancing over the report, please note the CEO's context there.

 

He's more about social media, Warhammer Community, Warhammer TV on YouTube...than actually having a dialogue.  Yes, I know there was that 1 marketing survey, which is a good step in the right direction, but the learning, then subsequent strategic planning, and subsequent execution, has NOT yet happened yet.

 

So he says talking WITH customers, but when you consider the context, it's more like direct marketing/direct outreach, where they're selling by marketing straight to customers even before they set foot in any store.  That's still great, it's not a problem obviously, but this is just a reminder of that context.

 

 

N1SB, what’s the over/under on this being sustainable?

 

 

Sustainability is the key thing I've been wondering about.  And with most businesses, we can look at it at least from 2 perspectives: finance and marketing.

 

Finance-wise, it's fine.  I noticed they have increased interest expenses, but it's fine, I saw they borrowed about that much before, and it looked like it was to cover 2 million pounds-worth of property, plant, equipment investments, which they probably should as mentioned in previous posts.  With how much they already made back, that loan (and the interest payments) are but a drop in the bucket for them at this point.  So that's sustainable, no worries.

 

Marketing-wise, well, it's a far more interesting topic here, and I actually amended my opening post to talk about that in case people just tuned into this thread.

 

8th ed 40k drove sales during this period.  Whether you like it or not, this report really covers the launch period, June 1, to end of Nov.  But that's a new edition, and how often can GW get away with launching a new edition?  We might accept a Chapter Approved each year, but not a whole new ruleset.  So is that sustainable?

 

Then I looked closer at GW's segments' growth: Trade i.e. FLGS +63%, Retail i.e. Warhammer Stores +35%, Mail Order +71%.  Why is Retail...with its trained red shirts, the most dedicated GW salespeople (remember many FLGS sell other games, too) comparatively low?  It sent up a red flag for me...then I realised it's ok.

 

Here's why I think it's a Happy Problem.  The Warhammer Store customers are MOSTLY loyal existing customers.  I'd suggest that +35% represents MOSTLY just 8th ed's and probably Necromunda's "sales spike" bump; this includes new models like Primaris/Death Guard, but all part of an edition update.  FLGS and Mail Order grew BEYOND that +35%.

 

That further growth of Trade and Mail Order, I'd suggest, include at least a lot of NEW or returning LAPSED customers.  It's like existing customers at a FLGS contributed +35% at Trade like it did in Retail...then another +28% or so from people just noticing 8th ed (and Necromunda) for the first time or the first time in a long time, to reach that growth of +63% altogether.  That's really, really good news if true, and I know, I know, it's NEVER that clean cut, but it's sort of the framework to think about the delta.  Similar thing with Mail Order, but that's much fuzzier, because I know a lot of my own purchases came in because there was an inventory shortage at my Warhammer Store, Blood Bowl introduced new product lines for Forgeworld, there's a lot more to it.

 

(Incidentally, in previous GW annual reports I've learned about 1/3 comes from new products/armies/codices.  The +35% reminds me of roughly that.)

 

EDIT - this issue has been gnawing at me and I want to present an alternative take, of such significance I edited my initial post.  The different growth rates might reflect market coverage actually.  There's only so many Warhammer Stores.  There's more FLGS.  And Mail Order is the least limited.

 

In other words, there would've been more growth in Retail if there were Warhammer Stores everywhere...but actually unwise as Retail is extremely unprofitable.  On the other hand, it shows there are more customers out there.  There is room to grow, which is central to the issue of sustainability.

 

But basically, if the sales growth was just about people having to buy new rulebooks and codices...that's NOT sustainable as that doesn't come every year.  However, with so much growth seeming to come from new or returning lapsed customers, GW can continue to expand its player base.  That's great news.

 

I think this is why the survey was so important, they needed to get one out, because their customer base might have dramatically changed this 6 months.

 

 

Used to work in the ERP space - good to hear they're looking at it. I don't know what backend they were using but if they're looking to come into newer spaces a lot of the ERP software out there tightly integrates with supply management; I worked specifically on Microsoft's Dynamics AX, but most ERPs have that kind of thing built in. Lets you track specifics about your supply lines much more easily.

 

 

In fact, I would ask your advice.

 

Here's the question - in a manufacturing business like GW (they're still a miniatures production company at heart), roughly how much can ERP improve efficiencies?

 

I'm just looking for some industry-wide average % and I know the answer is "it depends", but please ballpark it for us, like when you need to do an elevator pitch.  Like they improve production efficiencies not by making machines run faster, but by better predicting what customers want and in advance, so the factories will make those things, less stuff wasted sitting away in inventories, etc.

 

What I'm seeing is they've increased property, plant, equipment by 10%, but they grew at 53% overall.  To sustain this, we need to close that gap.  Now, I'm assuming the equipment they bought is more state-of-the-art, so though it looks like 10% increase in production facilities, they might be more efficient and produce at 20% to 30%, fine, but still not quite there.

 

I do think ERP integrated with CRM...which Microsoft Dynamics does, as does Salesforce.com or any ERP system now really, CAN make companies not just work harder but also smarter.  But is it so smart that it can close that gap, roughly by %?  Thanks in advance, am curious, I know I'm ignorant of manufacturing.

 

 

May be anyone know where to obtain such report for a Forgeworld Plc.?

 

 

Forgeworld is really a subsidiary of GW, so it's covered here, I don't think they file separately.

 

I'll give you a clue, though.  You already know Forgeworld is part of GW's Mail Order business that grew the most this 6 months.  I figured out, in a snapshot taken about 2 or 3 years ago, FW was about 30% of the Mail Order business (70% being the normal GW stuff and paints, etc.)  And that Mail Order is the biggest growing segment.

 

I suspect things like Blood Bowl was a substantial boost to FW.  Horus Heresy was cool and I thought from how much resin the most dedicated players bought, it was huge, but it turns out maybe Blood Bowl to FW is really massive.  I would not be surprised.

 

A little bit tired, just came home from playing my Patient Zero list, was fun, your discussions were fun, thanks for your questions.


Edited by N1SB, 12 January 2018 - 04:47 PM.

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