Exporta was founded in 1999 by current managing director Dale Paterson and his father. Over the last two decades Exporta has grown to one of the most prominent suppliers of plastic pallets and other product handling goods in the UK through offering unique customer service and next day nationwide delivery.
Dale Paterson, Managing Director at Exporta Global, speaks to Warehouse & Logistics News.
What are your best-known products/solutions/services?
We are best known as providers of product handling goods such as plastic pallets, plastic crates & containers, pallet collars and load securing goods. Essentially we are here to help you move it, store it and secure it. Our aim is to help make our customers warehouse or shipping operation more efficient, cost effective and safe. We also offer a range of supporting workplace equipment items as well as racking and shelving. Our service includes 150 years of combined industry experience, dedicated account managers and next day delivery to every corner of the UK.
Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?
We have a wide range of customers across multiple industries. We work a lot with businesses in the pharmaceutical, engineering, retail and automotive industries. These are all growing industries. We are also beginning to see more ecommerce businesses start up and they require modern warehouse equipment that often includes automation. This is an exciting trend in the industry which is constantly involving with new technology.
What are your most recent product innovations?
We are constantly reviewing our product range to ensure we are providing the best possible solutions for our customers. Product innovation is a passion of mine, one of our key ranges, pallet collars, was discovered on a family holiday to Sweden in the early 2000s. At the moment we are seeing an increase in vertical farming requirements. We’re having to think outside the box on this to provide a solution using our racking and this has been an exciting challenge for us internally.
What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?
The obvious one for us is climate change, and the need to reduce single use plastic and plastic waste. You may think, for a company selling plastic pallets this is a problem, but 98% of our plastic pallets come from recycled material, so we are reducing plastic waste and turning it in to a useful tool for our customers. We also recycle pallets for our customers. We have achieved an ISO14001 accreditation and this gives our customers confidence that we are committed to the environment in our every day working activities, not just in the products we sell. We are also currently seeing the increasing timber prices affect our customers, this is something we are constantly reacting to and we have increased our stock levels to give our customers peace of mind that they can get the goods they need on time.
Can you tell us about any recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?
We recently completed a project for a subsea engineering firm which essentially involved redesigning a plastic pallet box to fit in with their requirements. They were regularly losing pallet boxes with expensive equipment so we undertook a design process working closely with them to produce a pallet box with a unique locking system and clear branding to reduce lost boxes.
How does business in 2020 compare to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?
I think the key learning from 2020 was to be prepared to adapt and to be flexible. We were fortunate to be in an industry that didn’t grind to a halt but we still had to adapt the way we worked. We have a very dedicated team in place to do that. We’re seeing trends emerge in the market that include a lot of new technology, and as a business we have to be ready to react to that and provide our customers with goods that keep them compliant and efficient.
What’s the latest news from your company?
We’re launching a new website in July, this is going to provide our customers with a much more user friendly system to place orders and manage their accounts. The biggest improvement however will be the increased industry information and guidance the website will provide.
Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?
The environment is something we always consider and as mentioned we achieved an ISO14001 accreditation. This is important as it confirms to us and our customers that our day to day activity is being done in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner. The update to our website will also provide our customers with a much better user experience, saving them time. One example of our sustainable approach would be that we have invested in solar panels for the roof of our warehouse.
Are you investing in staff training and skills development?
Our staff always have the option to take on training, it’s something I find vital to the development of the company. Over the years we’ve seen members of staff join in a particular department such as the warehouse, and develop in to a completely different role such as sales.
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