Performance by engagement: the Unipart way

Posted by RM2 at 16:42 on 9 Jul 2015


Securing the number four position in this year’s Employee Ownership Top 50 is Unipart; known for their diversity and innovation.

The Unipart Group is a leading provider of manufacturing, logistics and consultancy services. Providing a wide range of different business support services to different sectors, all designed to help improve their customers’ performance.

Founded almost three decades ago, Unipart has always tried to do things a little differently. In 1987, the company was privatised through a management buyout which led to half of the company being owned by employees and managers.

Since privatisation the company has continued to grow and prosper, winning several industry awards and becoming the first company to set up its own corporate university, the Unipart U, in 1993.

Unipart’s ever-growing client base includes many well-known brands, including Vodafone, ASOS and BSkyB, but their mission remains the same: to deliver more than their clients expect by enabling cost reductions, improvements in capacity and service, and a level of engagement with employees to deliver tangible commercial benefits.

Unipart attributes their success to employee engagement within their business stating, “Our customers see the advantages of ‘Performance through Engagement’, which is delivered by using The Unipart Way inside their own companies. Not only do they get reduced cost and the elimination of waste, but they also benefit from hundreds of innovative ideas. This is a result of having employees that are truly engaged in helping to grow their business by generating ideas and solving problems. It can bring considerable customer benefits as our case histories show.”[1]

Today Unipart is one of the largest private owned companies in their sector; operating worldwide with an annual turnover circa. £1 billion, with the majority of shares[2] held by its employees.

The catalyst to this new way of business was their privatisation back in 1987 where all their employees were invited to become shareholders. Since then their continued motivation and innovative thinking from across their large employee base has enabled them to become a model of operational excellence, providing logistics and consultancy services for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Unipart people consistently strive to deliver better than expected results through their high levels of engagement.”[3]

This year's Employee Ownership Top 50 demonstrates that it is just this ethos which enables their 6,931[4] employees to make a real contribution to the success of the business of which they own a part.

[1] Extract from
[2] 52% of company shares are employee-owned, see the Employee Ownership Top 50 at
[3] Extract from
[4] Data from Employee Ownership Top 50, downloadable at