Silvergate Plastics is one the UK’s largest independent custom colour masterbatch manufacturer. Managing Director Sandy Bergeson has worked in the manufacturing industry for almost 20 years and has successfully contributed to Silvergate by doubling its turnover during her tenure. The team’s approachable, can-do attitude means Silvergate is able to operate an agile production facility, accommodate new product requests with ease and enter new global markets. She is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends to you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Silvergate respond?
Everyone is becoming increasingly aware of the effect plastic waste is having on our global environment. Educating consumers to dispose of waste responsibly is now essential, as is the improvement of waste handling facilities.
Whilst we do everything we can to operate as a responsible manufacturer by adhering to strict production and recycling processes, we are keen to increase our activities within the bioplastics sector, as this is one way we can contribute to circular plastics initiatives.
Part of this strategy involves us working closely as the compounding partner for Floreon Transforming Plastics, a technology company aiming to revolutionise the worldwide plastics market. Floreon, a highly durable and versatile bioplastic, was developed out of a desire for a cleaner and more sustainable form of plastic. Its patented, plant-based formulation is four times stronger than PLA, 100% compostable and completely recyclable. Recent trials have been very successful, making it a credible alternative to traditional polymers.
Our highly flexible manufacturing practices enable us to provide positive solutions to the challenges faced by the industry and respond quickly to emerging trends. It is this that makes us stand out as a key supply chain partner to plastic processors operating worldwide.
How has Silvergate developed during your tenure?
I began my career at Silvergate Plastics as Finance Manager over 10 years ago and in that time we have more than doubled our turnover. My fellow shareholders and I also bought out our original investors to become a wholly independent organisation in 2015. When I took over the role of Managing Director in 2017, I committed to communicating the true sense of our company to give customers a greater understanding of our capabilities. We were typically known as the fastest masterbatch manufacturer in the market but there is so much more to know! We are a family-oriented business, which means we support the needs of our employees, which can be changeable and diverse. In turn, our team works hard for us; we are an incredibly friendly bunch and will always go the extra mile for our valued customers.
What do you credit as key to your success?
Hard work and determination! We have developed a customer-focused culture and our team will respond promptly to assisting our customers. Whenever a customer contacts us, they can expect to speak directly to a friendly, attentive person who is committed to fulfilling their needs. I am very proud of our positive working environment, which is reflected in the service we offer our customers.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
As the UK prepares for its departure from the European Union, I believe my greatest challenge is imminent! At present, Brexit is still an unknown quantity for UK manufacturers. Whilst this is concerning, we are all in the same boat and I am committed to steering Silvergate successfully through whatever storms may come our way. Whatever the outcome of the current negotiations, the next twelve months will be undoubtedly challenging for us all.
What advice do you wish you had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give an Apprentice joining now?
The greatest advice I received on entering industry was that things are never as complicated as they seem! This has been invaluable throughout my career. As such, my advice to new starters, trainees and Apprentices is to always ask questions. My main objective here at Silvergate is to maintain a risk-free environment and only by retaining a complete sense of clarity can this be achieved. I therefore encourage all my team to ask questions to aid understanding, no matter how simple they may seem. We operate an open-door policy, which promotes a secure and comfortable workplace in which our staff can develop with confidence.
What hidden talents to you have?
As an accountant, numbers tend to rule my head but not many people know that interior design rules my heart. As the Managing Director of a masterbatch manufacturing company, it’s no coincidence that I have an eye for colour!
What may come as a surprise is that during my time as Financial Director, I was responsible for installing Creations, our colour match suite. As we receive many compliments from visiting customers, this project was one of the career highlights and I am very proud of our colourful, spacious and welcoming area in which our customers can work alongside our colour technicians to perfect their required product.