Driving Growth and Efficiency at Cornthwaite Group: Ibcos Gold in Action

Cornthwaite Group is one of the largest John Deere dealer groups in the UK, starting out in 2007 with one depot and quickly expanding to 5 depots in Bispham Green, Carlisle, Dumfries, Kendal, and Nantwich.

They have over 100 highly trained and motivated staff members and sell over 600 new and used tractors each year in the UK and beyond.

We sat down with John Melling, Parts Director of the Cornthwaite Group, to discuss the business growth, how important it is to have a dealer management system, key challenges, and more.

Watch a snippet of our interview below:



Can you tell us about the business as it stands today and what growth has looked like?

John: “Cornthwaite Group was founded in 2007 by Stuart Cornthwaite, the Managing Director, and in 2009 we merged with Agricultural Machinery Nantwich. In 2017, John Deere asked us to serve North Lancashire and South Cumbria and then we began building the Kendal depot, which opened in January 2018. Shortly after that, John Deere offered us the area responsibility for North Cumbria and Southwest Scotland, allowing us to venture into a new country. We then opened the Dumfries depot in January 2020. In 2009 we had roughly 35 staff members and now we are excited to confirm that the number has grown to 130.”

How long have you been in the industry, and would you ever consider leaving it?

John: “I’ve been in the industry since I left school, it’s all I’ve ever known. During school I went to an agricultural dealership for my work experience which ignited my passion for the industry. I’ve moved from different companies within the industry, and I’ve been through a couple of different franchises, but I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

What does a good dealer management system look like to you?

John: “A good dealer management system must be functional and easy to use for everyone, from your most basic new starter user up to your more advanced users that can get the most out of the system.”

When did you implement Ibcos Gold, and what was the initial reason for it?

John: “It was implemented in the early 90s so that we could transition from a paper-based system to a more modern computer-based system.”

How has Ibcos Gold shaped the way you work and contributed to the overall success of your dealership?

John: “In the six years that I have worked with Ibcos Gold, I have been able to work more quickly, get reports of out the system more conveniently, and become more efficient. Without a good dealer business system like Ibcos you could not function today. Things would be so time-consuming with the old paper-based system, it couldn’t be done.”

What do you believe will be some of the key challenges that farmers will face in 2024?

John: “John Deere believe that what they view as normalisation will take place. We’ve had two or three years of buoyant sales and strong growth. They feel that we could go ‘back-to-a-level playing field’ and potentially face a dip in sales. This could present as a challenge; however, everyone needs feeding therefore farming must keep going.”

Is there any advice that you would give to other dealers? 

John: “Make sure your business is as efficient as possible. You don’t necessarily need to cost cut, but make sure every process in your business has a purpose and is structured and well run. If your dealer management system can help that, and make your dealership more efficient, then perfect!”

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