National Plastics is the largest independent trade counter in the UK and will have 50 depots open by the end of 2017. But what’s the secret of its success? Geoff Foster, the company’s Managing Director, has been sharing his secrets.
“We have a very simple strategy, but we make sure we stick to it,” says Geoff. “We identify and meet customers’ requirements so we know we’re giving them what they need. This clear direction informs everything we do and to keep it on track we continually plan for the future so we know we’ve got all eventualities covered and can quickly adapt to changing circumstances.”
Of course, that simple strategy requires a lot of hard work in three areas in particular: sales and marketing, operations and finance.
“For us to get our sales and marketing tactics to work, we have to be sure we’re offering the right products and services,” says Geoff. “That means watching the market to understand new developments, researching the products that fulfil market need and developing a range that delivers at all price points.”
Then there’s the operations side of the business. “Our customers’ businesses depend on our reliability and it’s vital they can trust us,” comments Geoff. “We forge strong relationships with our suppliers so we can be sure they won’t let us – or our customers – down.”
Finally, there’s the finances. “Our buying power means we can negotiate some exceptional deals,” says Geoff. “It means we can offer competitive prices that our customers really value.”
But for Geoff, getting it right in these three areas would be nothing without his company’s secret ingredient. “You always have to consider the ‘what ifs’. We have plans in place that mean we are able to adapt what we do to still carry on delivering what our customers need. Take the recession, for example. When it hit, I promised my staff that no one would be made redundant – and no one was. In fact, we grew by £10 million in five years. It’s tribute to the quality and strength of the team as well as our adaptability that we managed to do that.”
He concludes, “Every business can put strategies in place. But you need something more if you’re going to succeed. I truly believe we’ve got that secret ingredient and I’m proud to be leading a company that is consistently able to give its customers what they need and is growing year on year as a result.”