HotSeat – James Panton, Sales Manager at APS UK

APS UK Ltd specialises in the design and installation of materials handling, and dust extraction systems. Sales Manager James Panton has held management positions in the manufacturing industry for over 25 years and is now responsible for developing the pneumatic conveying division of APS UK. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…

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

The continuing need to reduce costs and energy when processing plastics is a trend that will never go away. This is not just true in the manufacturing of plastic parts but also in the recycling of plastics and how to do this efficiently. Whether reducing drying times or reducing energy when conveying materials; it all has an impact on cost and the environment.

Every time we visit a customer, we always look at ways we can help them to be more efficient, reduce energy and improve their bottom line. As a company, we continually seek and learn about the latest developments in our sector to be able to meet the customers demands.

How has APS UK developed during your tenure?

I have only been with APS UK for just over a year so its still early days. However, in this time, we have taken on another salesman in our dust and fume control division and more recently hired another service engineer to better support our customers.

We have also been appointed UK distributor for Lorandi Silos Srl which is an Italian company supplying bulk materials handling and storage equipment as well as recycling equipment.

This has broadened our portfolio of equipment we offer our customers.

What do you credit as the key to your success?

Being prepared and listening.

Before visiting any new customer, I always research them to see who they are, what they are producing/processing and try to find some background on the business. This way, I am prepared on what we could offer but also to show the customer that I have taken an interest in their business and what they do.

When visiting customers, I alway listen to what needs they have and obtain as much information as possible about their processes to be better enabled to offer the correct solution.

Never be afraid to ask about a process if you don’t understand.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

Last year I left a comfortable position at a large company I had been in for several years to work for APS UK. It was a tough decision in terms of leaving a secure job to start something new and build up a department.

Luckily APS UK has a good name in the marketplace, and its team of employees are all dedicated to offering high levels of customer service. The team are all relatively young but have lots of experience in their sectors and are keen to grow the business.

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?

I was very lucky to have started my career in the plastics industry working alongside an ethical sales manager who would rather turn down a sale than supply equipment that was not suitable.

My advice would be the same, if you are selling equipment, you need to be honest with the customer on the equipment capabilities and be prepared to walk away if it does not meet their requirements.

What hidden talents do you have?

In my limited free time, I am an on-call firefighter for Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service. This is a challenging role, but it keeps me fit, has taught me the importance of teamwork and has exposed me to many situations where my actions have made a real impact.

The constant training and refresher courses in firefighting, trauma care and RTC rescue push you to perform and learn new skills.

This year I pushed my driving skills to become an Advanced Emergency Response Driver.


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