We were delighted to have been selected as a finalist for the coveted Processor of the Year Award by The Plastics Industry Awards back in September….and we won!! The Processor of the Year Award recognises UK processors (manufacturers of finished components and products using plastics materials) who are able to demonstrate to the judges their overall excellence. The judges were looking for leading sustainable performances across a number of areas; business enterprise and growth, technical innovation, people development, manufacturing efficiency, customer relations and environmental concerns. In other words, the company needed to be an all-round world-class processor.
At Rutland Plastics we are always looking at ways of improving and innovating. We have customers from all sectors of industry from agricultural, construction, medical, utilities and more. As our customer base is so broad we have to adapt with each customer but one thing is the same - we are experts in injection moulding solutions. Some customers have been with us for decades and some are just starting projects with us.
We have enjoyed steady sustained growth over the years and have always considered reinvestment into the business our main priority. We have purchased 3 new moulding machines in 2021 and now have 31 machines on site compared to 24 machines in 2008. This level of growth is reflected in the introduction of a dedicated weekend shift, and so, for the first time in our company history we are now a 24/7 production operation.
Customer relationships are key but without excellent relationships with our suppliers we would not be able to provide the service that we do. Our relationships with our suppliers have been vital recently with the global polymer supply issues. We are always open and honest with our suppliers and we see many of our suppliers as extensions of our offering to customers. We also have excellent relationships with our technical equipment suppliers.
In all business activities, we give consideration to our immediate community, the wider environment and its natural resources. We manage our production processes with careful concern for the environment and we recognise that our sustainability efforts are one of continuous improvement. We installed 900 (solar photovoltaics) PV panels on our new warehouse in 2016 and since installation we have generated over 800,000kWh. In addition to generating our own renewable energy, in September 2020 we switched supplier to one ensuring that 100% of the electricity supplied to Rutland Plastics is backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin. Our commitment to sustainability is reflected in our accreditation of Environmental Management ISO14001:2015.
We believe that knowledge is the key to success and this extends to our commitment to education. We have a strong link with many educational institutions and we are proud to have hosted ‘year in industry placement students’ from Loughborough University since the 1990s, many of whom we have employed after graduation. Having a student working with us brings benefits, not just for the students but for the business as well. The students bring knowledge of the latest technology, trends and ideas from the world of academia to Rutland Plastics and we provide experience in designing products across many sectors in a manufacturing setting. Our students also learn to work with designers across the UK, Europe and The Far East. Our shared experiences over the years has helped develop a real life link between great design and real life manufacturing.
Rutland Plastics is 65 years old this year. We certainly look different today from when the company first started out injection moulding in back in 1956. We have grown significantly over the years with new facilities, more employees and more customers. However, we are still a family business with the third generation now in charge and still based in Oakham in Rutland. Above all, we have retained a steadfast dedication to re-investment, education and our community.
We are incredibly grateful to have been recognised as Processor of the Year but without the hard work and commitment of everyone here at Rutland Plastics it would not have been possible.