Wittmann Battenfeld has been supplying processing machines, automation, and auxiliary equipment to the UK plastics industry for decades. Following the retirement of Barry Hill at the start of 2020, the company is now jointly managed by Tracy Cadman and Dan Williams. They are the next PlastikCity Partners in the HotSeat.
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Wittmann Battenfeld UK respond?
Dan Williams: Post COVID-19, we are very likely to see more med-tech and healthcare; more QA; more online networking and webinar activities; more workplace automation of plastic production processes and more take up of Industry 4.0 and Wittmann 4.0 systems.
Tracy Cadman: Hopefully, we shall also see more reshoring and more localised manufacture in the service of shorter, more effective and more secure supply chains.
How has WIBA UK developed during your tenure?
TC: It’s early days – and COVID-19 has given us the largest speed bump imaginable! – but we are shaping our efforts around unmatched service and one-stop shopping. We also have a great team who are all very excited and enthusiastic about Wittmann Battenfeld and the products we produce.
DW: Also, we are intent on making the most of the technical backgrounds of all in our sales team. This know-how will help ensure that all our customers receive the best solution for them every time.
What do you both credit as the key to your success?
DW: Attention to detail. Listening very closely to customer needs – and both of us having a firm foundation of the business from both Wittmann and Battenfeld sides.
TC: Agreed. There’s no substitute for experience. In my case, from the very beginning with Wittmann UK and the same for Dan with Battenfeld in the UK.
What has been the greatest challenge in your careers?
TC: Hopefully they’re all behind us now! The COVID-19 crisis clearly dwarfs everything else – including the drawn-out Brexit saga and some of the recent and terrible flooding that hit some of our customers very badly.
DW: Second that! And in terms of enjoyable challenges, the Wittmann takeover of Battenfeld (April 2008) is still generating opportunities and synergies for all the Group. Every year we benefit greatly from some amazing innovation and cross-fertilisations.
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?
DW: Fortunately, I had the benefit of a traditional engineering apprenticeship. In that setting I learned to take on board every ounce of knowledge that was offered – from everyone around me, high and low. It’s as well to remember that you spend well over a third of your working life “at work”. If you don’t enjoy what you do, then you are in the wrong job!
TC: Also second that! Life and work is a constant learning process and evolution – as myself and Dan are finding in our new roles!
What hidden talents do you have?
DW: Fortunately most of those get expressed on the job – and weekends are more or less reserved for enthusiasms.
TC: Since work is mainly desk-bound, the weekends are a time for relaxation and will see me mainly in the Great Outdoors – with the dogs or, if the weather’s fine, on the motorbikes.