Carlingford Oyster Company

The Carlingford Oyster Company is a family business which operates an oyster farm in the heart of Carlingford Lough.  In business since 1974, the company delivers over 1.5 million oysters each year to food lovers in the UK and Ireland. Kian Louet-Feisser is the son of the founder and now manages the business which has 8 full time employees and up to 6 part time staff.  The company is supported by Bord Iascaigh Mhara which is the State agency with primary responsibility for developing the seafish and aquaculture industries in Ireland.

Why participate in the programme

Kian decided to undertake the programme having attended a ManagementWorks workshop which explained the programme approach in detail.  It seemed to him that it would address the “stuff I had wanted to learn for years!"

Experience of the programme to date

A big challenge for Kian was to make the time to undertake the programme work required.  The first few months were very challenging with the long hours of the day job being added to by the need to generate better information and to make plans for new developments. He enjoyed the experience of meeting other small business owners and the opportunity to both realise that many businesses face very similar issues and that there are ways of addressing the problems which can arise.

Impact on their business

Kian says that he “learned more in the past 9 months than in the past 19 years in business”. The focused workshops coupled with the support and challenge of the mentor helped him to make a lot of progress in a number of ways. The business works on a two week cycle of demand, so a team meeting has been introduced every second Tuesday to discuss the following period.  This is allowing much better communication internally which is allowing staff to contribute more as well. Kian now monitors and manages his margins more carefully and is more focused on ways of increasing business performance. He feels that the programme has given him encouragement to progress the business and has allowed him to create more time for working on the business.

Message for other business owners

The business involves some unusual constraints due to working in a tidal estuary with a product which takes 3 years to mature!  Yet, Kian feels that the programme has helped him enormously to reinvigorate his own approach to the business which is delivering better results for both the business and his staff. Despite the time pressure felt initially, he suggests that if you don’t have the time for this programme, then you really need it!

ManagementWorks Programme

Participant(s)

Kian Louet-Feisser