Review of 2017
If we were to sum up our year of 2017 it would be one of anticipation. This word comes to mind more than any other simply because there were so many projects on the go, that were a mix of potential new customers and potential new product development. In addition, there was the marketing that went into creating the demand in the first place. The new P&R website, our social media accounts including Twitter and Linkedin as well as Facebook, all together helping our SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) campaigns. If we had to be honest we were a little disappointed to say the least that Google now rate the top 6 or even more companies based on their advertising with Google and to some extent the company’s own ability to create a good SEO campaign. But that’s business, and we too have now joined in!
The creation of our website took a long time to pull together because we had just moved into our new home – a 135,000sq ft. 6-acre site. We needed to promote the business online, its facilities, its services, its history and of course our capabilities. For that we needed top quality images and video. So we had to play the waiting game, anticipating the finished article.
One of those new products is Versatile our new 6mm interlocking PVC flooring tile. A complete flooring solution for domestic, industrial and commercial applications. So that meant another website and another set of social media accounts (and a whole new rake of passwords to boot!) and a first foray for us into the world of business to consumer – a scary prospect indeed.
As anyone involved in new product development knows, it’s not a smooth path. You can’t anticipate for all eventualities but what you can do is deal with them quickly after all you want to start recouping your investment as soon as possible. So, driving the project on and checking what’s being done as not all share the same vigour as you? Sound familiar? We had to test, test and test again. Once the product is out in the market we cannot have any failures. There was a lot of anticipation going on I’ll tell you.
Earlier on in the year we had Brexit worries and some of our suppliers could have been guilty of jumping on the bandwagon to take the opportunity to lift prices. We chose to wait and then address the issue when we had no choice. Nobody likes to raise prices unless you have the only source of supply of a product or service. Its fraught with risk and it’s not pleasant. But then neither is not having a job because your company has run out of cash and folded.
Getting back to the anticipation – we had jobs and customers all bubbling along but taking time to drop. That was pretty much our 2017, pushing forward creating chances and opportunities that would hopefully materialise further down the road, while still offering our existing customers the same great levels of service and products. While all this was going on we had some growth including exiting from a customer who we were losing money on – they do exist and we probably all have them. Once you are sure of your data let it go and most importantly on good terms. We didn’t notice the loss in our figures so we made the right decision. We freed up machine time, our people’s time and took some stress out of the mix too.
At the last count we had over 200 customers serving 40 different markets running 30 different materials with countless different packing and packaging materials. It’s a complex business for sure.
But what of 2018? I’ll just need 2 minutes more of your time.
One key new customer / products that we anticipated all year finally landed and boosted our final 3 months of year no end. We have that to look forward now for 2018. Our new 1100 ton Haitian machine arrived and is up and running making one of our own products that we’ve added to our range, so again we had the anticipation now we have the realisation and the satisfaction of a job well done. These parts occupy a machine for many months of the year so are very significant. So out of the 4 buses, 2 have arrived but the focus and commitment remains unchanged.
Robotics will have an impact on all our professional lives going forward and in terms of downstream handling of parts they play a big part in our operation. The technology changes by the day so we don’t ignore it, we embrace it! We want to, and aim to compete at the highest levels and play on a world stage. We need robots to help us achieve that and we fully embrace the technology.
3d modelling is also changing rapidly. We have for many years now been able to supply a 3d ABS model with quotations to our clients. New materials, new methods, ease of use, it’s advancing rapidly and We are In.
Through networking and social media it’s obvious that the industry is busy. We see many posts demonstrating investment in shiny new machinery and downstream handling equipment. It appears we are on a bit of a roll. Maybe that’s a result of companies re-shoring work from overseas or an influx of new product development? I’m no expert but I’ve figured out that we’re going to need experienced, talented people to operate all these new injection mould presses. That could be a problem. There will be, I’m sure a fight for those talented dedicated ‘get it right’ individuals more so than the ‘make do’s’ out there. Injection Moulding companies may well find themselves selling their companies and the benefits of working there to these people in a bid to steal the ‘get it rights’ from under the noses of their competitors. Or maybe develop their own legion of ‘get it rights’ themselves. I know it’s a cliché but maybe you are only as good as your people.
2018 should be a great year for us. We have the tools, we have the ability, we have the plant, equipment and the space to achieve what we believe we can achieve. Most importantly we have the people who can make all this happen. There is so much potential for us as a company and it’s all down to one thing really – I believe anyway; If you only do one thing this year – whatever it is – do it better than your competitors. We are all chasing around looking for that product that’s totally unique and will make huge revenues. In reality, there is plenty of ‘normal’ business out there, we just need to win it and do it better than anyone else.
Patterson & Rothwell are a Plastic Injection Moulding Company based in the North West of England, UK producing goods for many business sectors. Our ethos is to offer our customers a professional yet flexible approach and of course provide attention to detail at every stage. Please contact us if you wish to discuss any Plastic Injection Moulding Project.