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HotSeat – Mark Batt, Operations Manager at Synergy Plastics

Synergy Plastics is a family run, long established business which supplies plastic mouldings to a variety of different industries. Operations Manager Mark Batt is responsible for running the trade injection moulding business, and has been with the company since it was formed in 1997. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…

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

With expertise in the trade moulding side of UK plastics, I believe the ability to be diverse and adaptive are key to our industry going forward.  With such an exodus of trade moulding companies in recent times, the companies left in the sector are clearly doing something right.  If, as a company, we are not changing and diversifying then it will be a challenge to stay competitive in one field.  Market duration is a lot shorter than it used to be.  For example, the famous tube television – a product that had a 50-year life – succumbed to the LCD which then became side lined for Plasma and now to the modern LED technology, all in the space of 15 years.

Another key factor for the industry going forward is the environmental side which will no doubt be as critical to businesses going forward as industry standard quality accreditations.  I think we need to be open to improving the recycling opportunities and the industry also needs to invest in offering more and more options with recycled materials to meet higher specifications in reprocessed plastics – something that we are seeing improvements in every day.  For Synergy our strategy is to achieve 14001 accreditation and continue to be diverse in what we do.

How has Synergy Plastics developed during your tenure?

Synergy has grown every year since 1997 and we’ve seen our customer base frequently change as well as changes in our methods with massive investment in recent years in automation and new machinery.  It has developed through being adaptive to the market.  It has seen us develop from two second hand moulding machines up to 300T in size in to a modern plant with automation and new machinery up to 1300T press size.

What do you credit as the key to your success?

There is no special formula.  The fundamentals are the principles that we have always worked to, which is to be cost effective, reliable, honest and most importantly work very hard.  Personally, I believe reliability and working hard are two of the key things that are in shortage in the UK today and which we need to instill back into society.  A key factor in success for Synergy is having the right people around you to make it work.  Finding the right team who care and have the ambition to move forward and continuously improve has been paramount for us.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

In trade injection moulding I think every day is a tough challenge for more reasons than you could ever explain.  However, most recently I have had children and without doubt I think the biggest challenge of my life so far is to raise my children correctly whilst obtaining a sensible amount of sleep and balancing work load and family time.

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 think I have been very lucky as I started in the business at the bottom level and have worked my way up, so I respect the different challenges at every level of the business.  I believe it’s an industry where either it is for you or it isn’t and if you can’t relate to the shop floor demands it is very difficult to adapt.  I would advise anybody starting out to try the industry at the entry level before committing a future to it.  It’s the best start in plastics you can have, to be on the shop floor and learning it from the bottom up.

What hidden talents do you have?

At 14 years old I joined the Young Farmers Federation (YFC) which is a fantastic organisation for 10-26 year olds and was successful in a few odd competitions.  Some of these included Best Dame in a pantomime, public speaking, dancing, cooking, sheep shearing and dressing up as the bass guitarist from The Darkness – I won a national award for it (Unfortunately no picture available)!  These days I’m not a bad fly fisherman and a keen shot on clay pigeons – unfortunately not as exotic as my younger days.

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Synergy Plastics
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