Hardie Polymers are the UK’s leading independent and award-winning polymer distributors in the injection moulding sector. Isy Ferguson has spent almost 30 years with the company, in positions ranging from Sales Office Manager and Operations Director to Managing Director. Isy is next to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Hardie Polymers respond?
It’s an exciting time right now as we witness a marked increase in enquiries brought about by the reshoring movement, bringing manufacturing back to the UK.
Just over two years ago, our major concern and focus was on the challenges that Brexit would bring. Who could have ever envisaged a pandemic on top? Having thankfully emerged from both, we’re now at an exciting juncture in our industry, as supply chain security and logistics concerns drive moulding work back to the UK.
Here at Hardies, we continue to expand our European supplier network, enabling us to offer all the specified grades of engineering polymers required for these reshoring opportunities and supporting the growing demand from our UK customer base.
How has Hardie Polymers developed during your tenure?
When I first started at Hardie Polymers almost 30 years ago, we were an agent for leading raw material suppliers and also several machinery and ancillary suppliers.
From there, we moved on to direct distribution, focusing solely on materials, predominantly engineering and high-performance grades. We now have what I believe is the most extensive portfolio in the industry. Our rebranding initiative in 2020 successfully captured our message to the market: “ANY BRAND. ANY GRADE. ANY QUANTITY.”
In October last year, we were delighted to be appointed by Victrex PEEK as their authorised UK distributor and this relationship is already blossoming.
We’ve expanded both our staffing levels and stockholding rapidly over the past 2-3 years and in November last year, with the backing of the team at Nevis Capital, Bartosz Komanski and I were delighted to conclude a management buyout of Hardie Polymers.
We are excited to be leading the company into the next chapter and with an ambitious and fiercely loyal team behind us, who knows what opportunities lie ahead!
What do you credit as the key to your success?
Without a doubt, the fantastic team alongside me, combined with the strength of our customer and supplier relationships.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
Every business that trades with Europe has been through something similar, but navigating Hardie Polymers through Brexit, at the same time as a worldwide pandemic and the worst material shortages ever experienced, has, without any doubt, been the greatest challenge of my career. That and retaining my sanity throughout!
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?
Had I known I would still have been in the industry 30 years later, I might have listened to a bit more advice back then and completed a Chemistry degree!
I have always been fortunate to have been surrounded and guided by people who have a real passion for the industry. That has been infectious, so I still love what I do today as much as I did back then.
My advice to an apprentice would be that there is a big world out there: never let gender or age restrict you – you get back what you put in. The day you stop enjoying what you do is the day you should try something new.
What hidden talents do you have?
Very topical given the recent gold medal win at the Olympics – Curling – although sadly now I have no time to play, but hopefully in the future, I can get back to it!
Visit www.hardiepolymers.com, or get in touch using the contact details below to learn more about the company, polymers supplied, and request a quote.