Apex Linvar, formerly LINPAC Storage Systems, is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of racking, shelving, storage systems and equipment, and its brand names APEX, LINVAR and LINBIN are synonymous with the industry. Apex Linvar is currently celebrating 75 successful years in the design, manufacture and installation of storage and handling solutions, with a broad customer base ranging from the smallest company wanting a tailored storage solution to multi-nationals such as Amazon, Dunlop-Goodyear, Laddaw, P&O Ferries, Matalan, Marks & Spencer, Argos, Eddie Stobart, TNT, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. As well as being a supplier of high quality products, Apex Linvar’s mission is to be a full service storage partner delivering complex solutions to address customers’ storage problems, and working closely with the customer to provide the ideal solution to maximise their business’s efficiency and cost effectiveness, offering the same professional service to all customers, regardless of size.
Apex Linvar manufactures its racking and shelving products here in the UK, and has long-term distributor partnerships with a number of leading service providers. Their short chain of command, backed by experienced designers, structural engineers and state of the art manufacturing facility, gives the company the flexibility to provide tailored storage solutions in very short time frames. Apex Linvar’s quality systems, approved to ISO 9001, ensure customers receive outstanding service from quotation through to completed installation, and they are the only manufacturer of pallet racking in the UK represented at European level on all the major technical groups developing European standards.
In the latest chapter of this long running success story, Apex Linvar has recently completed major installations at a number of warehousing and distribution centres in the UK, and 2012 promises to be a true jubilee year for the business, with ambitious growth plans and a major investment programme running alongside the 75th anniversary celebrations. Anthony Finlayson-Green, recently appointed CEO of Apex Linvar, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
Warehouse & Logistics News – It’s been a momentous last few months for Apex Linvar. Can you bring us up to date?
Yes, of course. The company was founded in 1937, and in its life has been known as both Apex Storage Systems and LINPAC Storage Systems. In 2011 it was acquired from the LINPAC Group by Chamonix Private Equity LLP and now trades as Apex Linvar. The business in its present form has a fantastic reputation in the industry and a great team of people in place who have worked together to get it to its current market-leading position, and we have ambitious and achievable plans to grow the business significantly from here and increase market share.
WLN – What is your current share of the market as you define it?
WLN – The clients mentioned in the introduction span several industry sectors. Which sectors do you see as your top priority?
Our priorities will be where our products and solutions are needed. We are also broadening our base with new products and solutions.
WLN – Does Chamonix still own the business? How does that work?
Chamonix own 100% of the business as part of an investment portfolio. They work with the CEO and the executive team to define the goals of the business and support through investment as needed and or any expertise. They are not hands on in the business day to day.
WLN – When did you join Apex Linvar, and where were you before?
I joined in November 2011 after the acquisition. I was most recently Managing Director at Cert Octavian, the UK’s market leader in premium product logistics.
WLN – What’s your business background?
My background is actually aviation logistics and customer service and food manufacturing, having previously held the post of Vice President Inflight Services Gulf Air and other senior posts with Swiss Air Group and Lufthansa LSG.
WLN – What is your brief now as CEO of Apex Linvar?
Moving forward, we have ambitious and achievable plans to grow the business significantly. So far in this current year we are on track to achieve a 20% GROWTH and increase market share. As well as examining the opportunities in new sectors, I’m working closely with our Sales Director Andy Barrie to develop our sales team further and concentrate on strengthening relationships with key partners and distributors.
WLN – Where are you based in the UK?
WLN – What happens there?
We design and manufacture our range of storage and handling products there, together with our tailored storage solutions. Continued investment in the manufacturing plant in Milton Keynes means that it is equipped with the very latest design facilities, state of the art steel forming equipment, specialised computer controlled steel rolling mills and one of the largest epoxy polyester powder coating paint lines in Europe. We also hold stock and despatch products in our Storage Direct Catalogue, which offers thousands of complementary products via our dedicated website www.storagedirect.co.uk or by calling 0800 592 963.
WLN – Can you tell us about the Storage Direct catalogue?
The Storage Direct catalogue is now in its 19th year, and is accessible on line. Storage Direct has a comprehensive selection of dedicated storage and handling solutions available from one source, many manufactured here in the UK. We now have even more choice across ten product sections. We are adding to our product range all the time, and the website is an ideal way to keep up to date with our Storage Direct offering. The Storage Direct range includes Linbins, small parts storage, shelving, racking and warehouse equipment, cabinets and bins, handling containers and pallets, mobile trucks and trolleys, workshop benches and tool storage, office furniture and storage, health, safety, waste and environmental and even steps, ladders and access products.
WLN – On your web site it says Apex Linvar is the trading name of Apex Space Solutions. What does that signify?
When Apex separated from LinPac it was a company name that was available for us to use. Although we trade as Apex Linvar, because in our history these were two separate companies and both well known, we just use our very strong and easily identifiable big ‘A’ brand on all our marketing materials. Customers should look out for this so they do not mistake us, the true manufacturer, for a small Midlands based distributor type company that emulates being us.
WLN – Do Chamonix own any other storage and handling businesses?
No, we are the only one.
WLN – Can you talk us through the different products in your range?
Our pallet racking systems include adjustable pallet, narrow aisle, high bay, push back and drive-in racking, pallet live storage, multi-tier and cantilever racking. The versatile range of industrial and office shelving systems includes Longspan and carton live storage, Shortspan and multi-tier shelving together with document storage and the revolutionary SpeedCell mobile shelving, as well as our shelving partner META.
WLN – What’s new for 2012?
Speedcell is the newest addition to our range. It is a fabric based high-density storage system that suspends from our racking, and is very flexible and allows considerable cost saving.
WLN – What other accessories do you offer?
Apex Linvar has a complete range of racking and shelving accessories that can transform bare structures into complete storage and retrieval systems, from simple steel shelf panels to garment hanging rails, and all with the guarantee and high levels of craftsmanship associated with one of the UK’s leading storage providers.
WLN – Can you also make bespoke components for specific projects?
Yes, we can. Being one of the leading suppliers with a manufacturing operation here in the UK gives us the added advantage of being able to create bespoke components tailored for individual requirements, should our standard range not have the right offering. Manufacturing on site means lead times are also reduced.
WLN – What are your routes to market?
We have a direct and national sales team, and also work with a number of distributors throughout the UK.
WLN – What do your tailored storage solutions entail?
They cover all the pallet racking, shelving, storage and materials handling systems used in logistics and supply chain management.
WLN – Who heads up your tailored solutions side?
Our Technical Director is Mike Savage.
WLN – At what stage in their business’s evolution does someone need to call you in to develop a solution?
It can be any requirement at any stage, from a few shelves in a store room to multimillion pound automated facilities. The sooner we are involved, the sooner we can advise on the best overall solution and partnering that may be required to deliver it.
WLN – Can you tell us about the recent major installations you have carried out at UK warehousing and distribution centres?
We have carried out projects for River Island, Great Bear and The Toy Company.
WLN – Do you publish customer case studies?
Yes we do, and are currently working on some new and exciting stories, which your readers should look out for.
WLN – Do you cover the full storage solution life cycle from new build and fit out through to replacement and dismantling?
WLN – Can storage and handling systems be recycled and reused?
Yes they can, or certainly elements of the kit can be.
WLN – How green are your tailored solutions?
We work hard to reduce our use of materials and energy, increase recycling and minimise emissions and wastes to air, water and soil. We are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and making sure future generations can sustain their needs.
WLN – How do you go about developing a storage solution for a client?
Early on in the enquiry process we appoint a team to ensure the customer has confidence that we are driving the project and fully understand their business requirements. Providing this consultative approach, we demonstrate our ability in our design and pedigree in providing materials handling solutions that ultimately demonstrate a return on investment for our customers and shareholders alike.
WLN – How quickly can you turn round a storage solution?
WLN – What other services do you supply?
Apex Linvar provides not only racking and shelving solutions, but also site surveys, project management, installation inspections, compliance inspections and damage repair, all backed up with the service, support and guarantee that comes from one of the UK’s leading racking and shelving manufacturers.
WLN – Do you cover the whole UK?
Yes, we do.
WLN – What about Europe and elsewhere?
We do trade in Europe, and will look to expand our services in the next two years.
WLN – Do you have offices overseas?
Not at this time… watch this space.
WLN – Which standards bodies are you involved in?
We are a founder member of SEMA, the national trade association for the storage equipment manufacturing industry. SEMA Codes of Practice cover all aspects of storage design, safe installation and usage and we are proud to play a full and active role. It goes without saying that all our products carry with them the Apex Linvar guarantee of quality, with our certification to BS EN ISO 9001.
WLN – What are you doing to celebrate the 75th anniversary?
We are holding a Family Day and customer events towards the end of the year, along with staff celebrations.
WLN – What does your investment programme entail? Are you recruiting more people?
Yes, we have strengthened the senior team and recruited throughout at all levels, especially sales and technical… and marketing, of course.
WLN – Finally, what do your growth plans involve?
Our plans involve organic growth over the next two years, with open minds to all the opportunities that may present themselves.
WLN – Can you tell us about them yet? Any plans for acquisition that you can talk about?
There’s nothing that we can talk about just yet – but we’ll let you know as soon as we can.
Tel: 01908 561222