Serving a wide range of sectors, independent injection moulding manufacturer BEC Group has expanded year-on-year. It now offers a bespoke plastic injection design, tooling and moulding service, all under one roof. Paul Holland, Head of Design and Innovation, has been with the company for over 30 years and is next to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will BEC Group respond?
As will be the case with many industries over the coming years, sustainability is key for the future of BEC Group. BEC is responding to this shift; for example, we use several recycled materials for injection moulding. We are also endeavouring to work more and more in renewable industries such as wind farms and hydrogen transport.
In addition, we are seeing an increase in the number of customers approaching us for reshoring projects – often due to the increased risk of a global supply chain, for example, the disruption we’ve experienced over the past year, as well as increased importation costs. Customers are often surprised just how competitive UK manufacturing can be, especially when you consider hidden costs such as transportation, communication and time.
How has BEC Group developed during your tenure?
After 43 years in the business, BEC has both weathered difficult storms, including recessions and the loss of valued staff members, as well as working with some brilliant customers, enjoying commercial success, and the re-investments into the business that our hard work has brought.
Over the last four decades, we’ve diversified and have jumped feet first into new industries and emerging technologies. We aren’t afraid to experiment with novel materials and ground-breaking techniques to provide the best outcome for our clients.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
BEC’s flexibility both in-house and whilst working with customers is what’s kept the company in such good shape over the years. We listen to exactly what customers need from us and adapt accordingly – they can speak to and visit our on-site toolmakers to understand the process and make tweaks to their design and benefit from our collaborative design for manufacture process to improve and streamline the manufacturing of their product.
In terms of our continued success as a business, our technical expertise, the loyalty of many of our customers and word of mouth has kept BEC operating and improving over the past 40 years -we’ve got customers that have been with us from the very beginning.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced over the course of my career has been adapting to a constantly changing industry through outside influences such as the pandemic or trade overseas or keeping up with new technologies and materials that can improve end-results for clients.
Learning and adapting takes extra energy and time but is the key to the business’s continued success.
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?
My advice for an apprentice to the trade would be not to be afraid to make mistakes. If you don’t mess up, you’re not moving out of your comfort zone, and you won’t grow or learn. Don’t be afraid to ask and learn from those around you, particularly those that have been in the industry for a long time (the old boys!) – no one knows it all.
What hidden talents do you have?
I’m an avid axe-thrower in my downtime, which I can certainly recommend as a hobby that also ensures your neighbours are always polite to you! I do occasionally compete; however, it’s not a great skill for family BBQs…