You’ve got to love Bubble Wrap
What could be better than hearing from one highly experienced industry leader? How about hearing from two?
That happened when The Movers And Storers Show interviewed Andrew Simpson and Oliver Dawes of the Simpson Packaging Group.
The business was founded in 1988 by John Simpson and Tony Dawes, fathers to Andrew and Oliver, cousins on their mothers’ side.
The business grew quickly, with acquisitions (four companies comprise the Group) and diversification playing a significant role.
Moves into industrial packaging in sectors as diverse as food manufacturing and powder coating have been very successful, but the firm remains true to its removal supply roots.
Here are extracts from our conversation about the industry, the COVID-19 Pandemic and their plans for this year’s Movers And Storers Show.
Oliver on the COVID-19 Pandemic
“One significant aspect of the Pandemic was forcing us to make decisions we had probably put off when everything ran smoothly.
It was a chance, albeit not welcome, to look at the whole business and how we did things. In those first weeks of the Pandemic, Andrew and I were busier than ever. The majority of our staff were on furlough.
We answered the phones, spoke to customers, arranged deliveries and unloaded incoming stock. We brought staff back from furlough as soon as we saw we could.
Although Lockdown scuppered the removals industry because no one could move home, clients in the food and online sectors experienced a massive boom and demand for packaging rocketed. However, getting products to those clients was challenging due to a shortage of drivers.
All of these things helped shape our thinking.
For example, we slimmed down our fleet of vehicles and now use a combination of vehicles owned and operated by us and those by third-party delivery suppliers. It means our delivery system is more flexible and speedier with nationwide coverage. It’s a real competitive advantage for the business.”
Andrew on the challenges facing the industry
“Like every business, price increases and the slowdown in consumer spending will be the biggest challenges we face. Consumers are delaying big purchases, and the housing market is being squeezed at both ends with massive fuel bills and increased mortgage rates.
A slowdown is inevitable, and we have to be ready for it. At the same time, we’re dealing with massive price increases from suppliers.
The war in Ukraine hasn’t just affected gas supplies and energy prices. Paper and polythene, two essentials for a packaging business like ours, are expensive to produce, and we’ve seen double-digit price increases in both.
Throw in the strike at Felixstowe docks, where 48% of the UK’s imported products arrive, and you can see we have more than a few challenges to keep us on our toes!
Despite all that, we’re optimistic about the future, which is why we are exhibiting at the Movers And Storers Show. We’ve exhibited at every edition of the show since it launched. Movers And Storers allows us to show our full range of products.
Visitors are often surprised at just how extensive it is. This year, our focus will be on sustainable removal products.
We will show tapes that use paper instead of plastic, paper blankets instead of bubble wrap and products with significantly reduced plastic content in their make-up. Products like these help mitigate or avoid the Plastic Tax, which came into force on 1st April this year.
Also, we believe it’s important for clients to see products first-hand. Product quality and prices vary significantly from one supplier to another, and the Movers And Storers Show helps our market understand that.”
Away from work, it’s Cricket and Golf
When Andrew’s not working, his passion is cricket. He still plays and loves the sport.
If he could have dinner with a hero past or present, he would choose a night out with the late, great Shane Warne of Australia.
For Oliver, it’s golf, and he plays whenever he can.
His dinner choice would be Tiger Woods, the holder of numerous golfing records and one of the highest-earning sports stars ever.
Perhaps that shared sporting streak has helped these two business owners keep the Simpson Packaging Group successful and forward moving. Also, as Andrew highlighted..
you got to love Bubble Wrap
You can meet Andrew and Oliver on stand E4 at the Movers and Storers Show on 22nd & 23rd November at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.