Cougar helps companies to automate their factories and build databases for measuring production efficiency. It is also prepared to submit itself to the cold light of objective scrutiny. Three years ago it entered a DTI Benchmarking exercise that enables companies to compare their performance with others in the same sector according to measures such as production efficiency and staff motivation. The exercise revealed plenty of room for improvement at Cougar. Its founders, Richard Sellwood and Terry Rawlings, set about establishing a culture of continuous company improvement by acknowledging staff who came up with good ideas. Sellwood credits this initiative with boosting sales 71% a year from £636,000 in 1997 to £3.2m in 2000, when it had 45 employees. The firm was founded in 1989 and is based in the Forest of Bere, Hampshire. Recently Southern Water asked Cougar to work on the automation of the largest sewage treatment works on the south coast. Other customers include Procter & Gamble and the consumer-goods group Kimberly-Clark.
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