Aylesbury Granulation Services Limited granulate plastics on a toll work basis for a number of national firms – either for onward sale or for re-use in their own manufacture. Susan Staff, Commercial Manager, is responsible for the day to day running of the business. She has over 20 years in senior managerial positions in a number of manufacturing businesses. She is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics?
Obviously the world and his wife are currently waxing lyrical about how dreadful plastics are. The reality is not that plastics are dreadful, just that the management of their end-of-life has been dreadful – and to a huge extent still is. One trend has to be better re-use and recycling of plastic waste. Less whinging and more doing – from all of us. But the other has to be better product design, taking consideration end-of-life recycling and trying to avoid unnecessary co-mingling of polymer types or plastics with other contaminates.
How will Aylesbury Granulation Services respond?
Recycling segregated rigid plastic waste is exactly what we do – but because of the way we operate, we can guarantee that our finished product is actually recycled back into future plastic manufacturing. So our response has already been to invest in new equipment so that our capacity is increased in line with expected demand.
How has Aylesbury Granulation Services developed during your tenure?
When I started 2 years ago the business had little more than two firms in its supply chain – one of whom was both buyer and seller! We now have an expanded customer base in a range of industries and a trusted network of buyers for our regrind. We are also always on the look-out for new feed stocks.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
This time 10 years ago I was MD of a much larger business, employing 250 people, rather than the two of us now! I am also educated with an MBA – so I like to think I know what I’m doing! I am also very passionate about recycling so it is a job that I can happily put my heart in to.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
That would have to have been in my own business, where one day I worked with the normal day-to-day challenges of a British multi-site manufacturing business, and the next day I received my tri-annual pension scheme valuation (which had always been fully funded) and finding that I owed £4,400,000 to the pension scheme due to changes in FRS17. I kept the business going for a further 6 years – but it was hell.
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 can’t say that I was given any advice entering this industry, however my advice to others, on entering any new industry would be to acknowledge that you have a lot to learn, be humble, be honest and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What hidden talents do you have?
I’m a girl racer!