AK Industries have earned their reputation for excellence over more than four decades at the top of the technical injection moulding industry. Sam Green joined the company in 2012 as Operations Director, becoming Managing Director just over a year later. He is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will AK Industries respond?
Lessons learnt from automotive sector for re-engineering / continuous increase in the living wage will drive the need to use robotics for low skilled manual processes / a challenging time for low usage applications other than in the medical sector / consumer confidence needs to be restored in plastics and their significant benefits to everyday life / lack of whole life cycle management by OEM’s means there is no consumer understanding in what to do with a product when it is to be disposed of.
AKI has, for a number of years, been investing in automation, as an ethos we always try to stay ahead of the curve and have solutions before the question is asked.
How has AK Industries developed during your tenure?
I picked up the reins in 2013 and since this time we have gone from strength to strength. In order to meet the challenges of a manufacturer operating in a global market we have had to review and transform our capability; our people, processes and tools. Over this time, we have achieved this and business metrics improve year on year. Historically we have undertaken very little marketing as a business, now we want to share our knowledge and capability further with existing and prospective customers
What do you credit as the key to your success?
Tenacity / an engineer’s brain / common sense / and an ability to take a long-term viewpoint in a decision tree to ensure that a decision made today achieves the strategic goals of the business in 5 years time.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
Having previously worked for a large corporation in the defence industry moving into the plastics industry was not an easy decision to make. The opportunity to make positive and effective change in a short time scale is something of a challenge in large companies, but for an SME it is a life line.
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?
When I came into the industry I wasn’t really given any advice per se, I learnt quickly and developed my own opinion and strategy for success. Having been an outsider, the industry is not perceived to be ‘sexy’. The fact is that any engineer, no matter what discipline, will interact with the industry directly or indirectly. There are few modern machines or systems that do not incorporate polymers, it may be that they don’t currently but in doing so value or capability or indeed both can be created.
What hidden talents do you have?
In a time gone by, I used to be a keen rower and hope to one day pick this up again.