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HotSeat – Mike Boswell, Managing Director at Plastribution

As a market leader, Plastribution’s core business is the distribution of thermoplastic raw materials for injection moulding, extrusion and blow moulding industries. Managing Director Mike Boswell has progressed from trainee to Managing Director during his 30-year career at Plastribution. Mike has also held various posts at the British Plastics Federation including President, and Polymer Distributors & Compounders Group Chairman. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…

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

In the short-term BREXIT is the big issue and as chair of the BPF (British Plastics Federation) BREXIT Taskforce we are doing our best to ensure a positive future for the UK plastics sector. Of course, we still have to see what the outcomes will be but there is likely to be change and through that change opportunity. Plastribution has already put in place BREXIT contingency plans and we are working closely with suppliers and customers to minimise the impact of BREXIT on the polymer supply chain.

Another key trend is sustainability and here we have already developed a portfolio of ‘green polymers’ and are well positioned to provide advice on the suitability of these solutions to applications. Personally, I think that public awareness of the plastics issue is really important; not only from the perspective of driving innovation to address sustainability but also in terms of making everyone aware of how important and how ubiquitous plastics are within society.

As the petrochemical industry becomes more ever more global, we are continuing to develop sources of supply that will enable us to support UK plastic processors through supply chain solutions that ensure that there is competitive and reliable supply of the polymers imports on which UK converters depend.

How has Plastribution developed during your tenure?

Plastribution celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, of which I have been with the business for just over 30 years and the managing director for almost 20 years. Over the last two decades the business has grown and evolved to become a leading UK distributor of plastics, which has been a fantastic achievement by our team. However, we have worked hard to retain the principles of a business that really cares about its employees and our wider stakeholders as we depend upon the skills of our team, the loyalty of our customers, the support of our suppliers and other business partners in order for our business to be sustainable.

What do you credit as the key to your success?

The key to my success is undoubtable down to the amazing team here at Plastribution; without their dedication and hard work we would not be the successful business that we are today. In addition to the team we have a fantastic shareholder who has supported us for over 25 years and one which remains committed to our future success. The final component has to be personal determination and dedication.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

That will always be the next challenge, and in fact we care continually challenging ourselves as a business to improve and given the fast-moving environment in which we work there are plenty of fresh opportunities ahead. I am very excited about the future.

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?

Of course, there is lots, but perhaps the most important is how to work with and through people so that as a team we can become so much more than just the sum of our parts. In terms of advice to an apprentice think I would suggest that they ‘stick with it’ both in terms of the industry and their career and whilst short-term opportunities may look tempting there are many friends and colleagues in the industry who are enjoying outstanding careers by applying what they learnt as an apprentice.

What hidden talents do you have?

I don’t mind admitting that I really enjoy my job and a fair bit of my time outside of the normal working week is spent doing work, including broader business interests through reading and self-development. I also love exercise, particularly in the outdoors and currently spend time horse riding, walking, cycling and running. Being competitive I also like to have a challenge; last year I achieved my personal objective of cycling the Coast to Coast (without walking up a single hill) and  this year I will be both be taking part in the Lakeland 50, which involves a 50 miles trek within 24 hours across a large swathe of the Lakeland Fells and also as this will be my 10th attendance at the K Show I will be running 10km, at my 10th K Show and will be trying to raise £10k for charity.

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