January is a time when we reflect on last year; and 2020 will certainly be remembered for more reasons than one! In terms of writing history, it will go down as the year that Coronavirus shook the nation, and a year dominated by Brexit headlines over whether or not the UK will secure a trade deal with the EU.
But for our manufacturing and logistics industries, 2020 has marked a turning point; it has presented the opportunity for businesses to reinvent themselves – like the small specialist firms we’ve seen partnering with giants like Airbus to ramp up medical ventilator production as Covid-19 reached its peak – and provided a catalyst for manufacturers to accelerate investment in automation and robotics to ramp up supply. For plastic pallet experts Goplasticpallets.com, 2020 has not marked a turning point as such, but has presented an opportunity for the company to further bolster its team and strengthen its partnerships. MD Jim Hardisty explains.
It’s impossible to reflect on last year without mentioning the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Like all businesses we were forced to adapt to new ways of working in a matter of weeks. Our focus during the first lockdown was on helping our customers keep up supply – responding to urgent orders to help deliver medical supplies and keep our food supply chains moving. Some of the large projects we were working on went on hold, but only temporarily. I’ve been hugely impressed by the strength and resilience of our team throughout!
One of our key strengths as a business is the diverse range of plastic pallets and pallet boxes we hold in stock – the widest range in the UK. This makes us accessible to all businesses, no matter which market they operate in. Strong sectors for us this past year have remained food & drink, pharmaceutical and retail, especially e-commerce, where increased investment in automated systems continues to drive the shift away from traditional wooden pallets to durable, consistent and sustainable plastic ones. During the spring we saw a big uplift from the pharmaceutical sector in particular, where we’re currently working on several large-scale automation projects.
Last summer saw us launch a couple of new, exciting products. First in July was the launch of our award-winning magic folding box as a cost-effective multi-trip alternative to one-trip cardboard boxes. Then in August we announced we’re able to supply Miniload containers in huge quantities. These durable picking crates are designed for handling small items in small quantities; since our announcement we’ve had some exciting new enquiries, like a request for 375,000 units from a major UK lifestyle retailer.
Another exciting development came in the autumn when we showcased our new demo area. We now have a room dedicated to product demonstrations where customers can request live virtual demonstrations of plastic pallets and boxes so they can easily view and compare different models virtually without leaving their office. We’ve also made it really simple for customers to book demos online.
As plastic pallet experts, we pride ourselves on being able to match customers with not just the closest match but the perfect product for their application and our manufacturing partners across Europe help us achieve this. Our 14-year strong relationship with CABKA continues to grow from strength to strength, and last year marked a decade since we signed an exclusivity agreement with Q-Pall BV, who despite being a smaller team are extremely resourceful in answering our sometimes very technical enquiries from customers.
2020 has seen our pioneering plastic pallet recycling scheme ramp up a gear. In November we announced the widening of our scheme, to take back and recycle ‘any’ plastic pallets and boxes regardless of who supplied them. You could say we’re on a mission to clean up the nation of old or unused plastic pallets and boxes, by taking more responsibility, where others are not. The process to sign up is really simple, but the benefits are huge!
At Goplasticpallets.com we’ve always been strong believers that a supported workforce is a productive one, which is why we’ve continued to invest in our people – both by providing training and development opportunities and supporting their wellbeing. We’ve navigated through two lockdowns now and throughout we’ve continued to operate an ‘open door’ policy for all staff – be it virtually or socially distanced – to ensure everyone has received the support they need.
To end on another positive, our team of plastic pallet experts has recently grown even stronger. In November we welcomed Steve Penney to the team as our UK Key Account Sales Manager. Steve brings with him a valuable 31 years’ experience in the logistics sector. During his three decades in the plastic RTP industry Steve has been lucky enough to have worked for a number of major plastic pallet and container manufacturers and been involved in many high profile projects to specify and supply plastic pallets and containers into a wide range of end users in the food, pharmaceutical, automotive, packaging and consumer retail sectors. When I met Steve, he told me his motto is “the devil is in the detail” which really resonated with me. Selecting a plastic pallet for any application involves the understanding of a number of questions to ensure that it meets the performance required of it over a long period of time and for many cycles of use – and that’s exactly what we do at Goplasticpallets.com.
As we start 2021, there are some obvious challenges to come – how we all adapt to a post-Brexit world being one of them. But I believe the logistics industry as a whole will remain strong and keep growing. It’s an essential service in which plastic pallets play a vital role – in delivering the items needed to keep our essential supply chains powering on – and at an even greater pace than before!
For expert advice, contact the plastic pallet experts:
t: 01323 744057