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HotSeat – Dave Outen, Managing Director at Dugdale PVC Ltd

Dugdale PVC Ltd is the UK’s leading independent supplier of PVC Compounds, used in nearly all areas of plastics processing. Managing Director Dave Outen has been at the helm of Dugdale for 12 years, with over 30 years of experience in PVC matters. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…

What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics?  How will Dugdale respond?

At Dugdale PVC Ltd we will continue to match our materials and our expertise to an ever-increasing demand for customer service in plastics processing.

We back our future as PVC specialists pure and simple. The Dugdale PVC technical team has over 150 years experience of specifying and processing these materials for a variety of applications. We are currently designing and making over 50 new PVC compounds per month and we see increasing versatility and cost performance for these materials.

We also see a rising environmental star as regards PVC. Amid a popular wave of somewhat negative plastics sentiment, society and industry are realising that PVC is eminently recyclable – with ready infrastructure to match and having great 2nd use opportunities in many markets, particularly building and construction.

How has Dugdale developed during your tenure?

It has been very satisfying to provide year on year growth and investment for our niche business. Not only have we succeeded in growing our Sowerby Bridge factory and facilities we have also succeeded in growing the Dugdale PVC team across the board – production, research and development, sales and marketing.

As a business we set great store by our self-determining character and independence. We are therefore delighted that our emphasis on detailed service and solutions in the customer’s place of work continues to win us new friends in the business and new orders.

What do you credit as the key to your success?

Firstly, I come back to our insistence on a relentless PVC-only focus. “Better to be Master of one trade, rather than Jack of all.”

Secondly, we have a great team of people who possess complementary skills here with the abilities to focus on the mission and execute the plan.

Thirdly, our status as the UK’s leading independent PVC compounder has enabled us to run a company with a ‘family values’ ethic no matter how large we might become.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

All of us who work in plastics have shared the growing pains of this relatively young industry: The excitement and expansion of the sector up until the 1990s has since changed and plastics have had to face some very challenging conditions in recent years, both economically and socially.

PVC materials have taken their fair share of these challenges. Now, thanks to very bright recycling prospects, we are seeing more light in the future picture.

What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an Apprentice joining now?

For myself I think I always knew that the plastics sector was a place of great opportunity – technically and commercially – and so it has proved to be. As we steer Dugdale PVC Ltd through the 21st Century new opportunities are arising at every turn. Apprenticeships are a fine way to develop hands-on engineering and production know-how and we encourage them and nurture them here. For a materials-based polymer career I would also encourage further study – to degree level and beyond. Materials learning, and know-how never stops.

What hidden talents do you have?

These should largely remain hidden; however I am told my BBQ skills have improved greatly this year, thanks mainly to the beautiful weather we are having this summer.

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Dugdale Ltd
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