Planning a budget
A Davis Service Group case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Davis Service Group is a large public limited company employing around 17,000 people. Its shares are quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

The business is based on service contracts to source, clean and maintain industrial textiles, such as protective clothing and linens. This is across four key sectors: workwear, healthcare, hotels and restaurants, and general facilities, such as washroom linen.

The company's headquarters are in London but its operations are spread across the UK and Ireland, continental Europe and Scandinavia. These are managed by two separate companies: Sunlight in the UK and Berendsen on the Continent. Sunlight is the market leader in the UK. Berendsen is the market leader in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland.

Sales for the combined group in 2008 were worth £954 million. City financial analysts have forecast that 2009 sales will be at least equivalent to the 2008 level, if not modestly ahead.

Despite the severe recession of 2008-09, Davis continued to be a profitable company. This has been the result of careful budgeting. Budgeting involves making detailed financial plans for every aspect of the business, identifying risks and ensuring that managers are committed to the outcomes that they have agreed.

Budgets are forward financial plans. They show financial targets over a given period of time for income, expenditure and cash flows within a business. Davis uses budgets to plan the future use of its resources, either in the short or long term. For example, operational areas need to assess the costs of the people needed to meet production targets or the marketing team must determine costs of promoting services to increase sales. Budgets are also communication tools which allow employees to understand where the business is heading.

This case study shows how the development and use of budgets contribute to Davis Service Group meeting its objectives.

Davis Service Group | Planning a budget