Gill Rice, the woman heading up a thermo-plastics moulding company in the Tyne Valley – which is currently shortlisted for a NE industry award for manufacturing companies with a turnover of less than £25million – is setting out to achieve the environmental accreditation ISO14011 for her company, having achieved the Lloyd’s Register UKAS Approved ISO 9001:2015 accreditation for first class quality standards and professional working practices just two years ago.
Voted NE Businesswoman of the Year in the STEM category earlier this year, Gill Rice, managing director of Tyne Valley Plastics (TVP), is fully aware of the negativity surrounding plastics – their use and their disposal.
She said: “Although we are 100% involved in production plastics in everything we make, we recycle our own plastics and those of others. Plastics continue to be the material of choice for us because it is lightweight, cheaper than metal, non-corrosive and can be coloured to a client’s specification. All our thermo-plastics are recyclable and we even buy in second hand plastics to suit our customers’ needs. Once processed, 60% can be melted down in-house and we re-use it. The other 40% is segregated into three separate bins for polypropylene, nylon and ABS and taken away – again, for reprocessing.
“We don’t use plastic for packaging our finished products either. Our cardboard packaging is bought in second-hand.” Gill added: “We have recently completed our factory relocation into larger premises in Throckley. All our machinery has come with us, but we are continuing to tighten up all our production processes by investing in a larger, 300T injection moulding machine in addition to our current range of up to 200 tons, allowing for further streamlining. It will also enable us to manufacture larger components.”
Turnover has risen dramatically by 75% over the last financial year. Although prior to the June factory move, TVP had been subcontracting £10k of work monthly, the new 10,000sq ft factory will make a considerable difference to production times. Shift working, instigated at Low Prudhoe, continues to ensure that orders go out on time. Some contracts, initially placed overseas by customers, have come to TVP because of unacceptable quality, longer lead times and the additional costs of transportation.
Gill Rice is passionate about keeping manufacturing solidly here in the UK. She explained: “Our customers have very high standards and they come to us for our development expertise and our reliability. I’m very proud of our team here, which has risen to every challenge and been instrumental in securing ongoing contracts for the NHS, the MoD, farm suppliers and hardware retailers both here and abroad. Our training matrix for our apprentices is on a ‘learn more, earn more’ basis and everyone is committed to our continuing success, now that we have moved house!”