Pakawaste boosts business with overseas expansion

Waste handling systems manufacturer Pakawaste is enjoying a boost in trade thanks to increased export sales.

Pakawaste, which provided the waste handling machinery for the London 2012 Olympics, employs 40 staff in Preston and an additional team of service staff nationwide and has been working with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to develop its overseas trade. It now exports over £600,000 of manufactured goods and has seen exports grow from 1% to 25% of business turnover in the last year.

The company has recently opened a dealership in Ahmedabad, India, and commissioned an agent in Bangalore, following a UKTI trade mission in March, and this month CEO David Hamer is returning to India to further business links there.

Pakawaste supplies a huge range of waste disposal equipment including balers, compactors and shredders. UK customers include Asda, Sainsburys and B&M Bargains as well as Jaguar Land Rover, hospitals, logistics firms and major waste contractors.

Since working with UKTI the business also now sells to a range of overseas markets including Australia, France, Italy, Germany and the Middle East. Pakawaste’s next target market is America, where it is due to open a dealership in Chicago this year.

CEO David Hamer says: “Until recently most of our business was UK based. We did export a little, winning a contract in Hong Kong as early as 1997, but we had no real strategy and were not making the most of our international potential.

“In 2008 the recession here hit us very hard and we realised it was time to explore more opportunities. We contacted UK Trade & Investment and have had a range of help from them, including taking the Passport to Export programme to help us build a strategy and using market visit support to attend trade missions. We also underwent language and culture training, and commissioned research on the Middle East and Australian markets through UKTI’s Overseas Market Introduction (OMIS) service.”

Pakawaste is now on the Gateway to Global Growth programme, UKTI’s scheme for more experienced exporters, and is looking to increase sales in the Middle East and America.

David adds, “There is huge competition in these markets, but the reason we can compete is that we build a quality product at a competitive price. We used to have our machinery made overseas but in 2008 we brought manufacturing back to Preston.

“Exports are really helping us to grow our business and we would recommend working with UKTI to other companies wishing to increase their overseas sales.”

Barbara Singleton, International Trade Adviser for UKTI North West, added: “Pakawaste has made great progress in new export markets, and has managed to compete in a competitive environment due to the quality and affordability of its products.

“We took Pakawaste on a UKTI supported mission to India in 2014, which helped them find a distributor and make their first sale in India earlier this year. We also used our staff in embassies and consulates to identify customers in the Middle East for them and orders are now beginning to come through from there.

“The company make and sell the machinery and then provide a service afterwards and many of their products we produce are bespoke – so for example when fulfilling a contract for the Qatar Conference Centre they worked with the architects from an early stage to provide them with tailor made solutions.

“It is expertise such as this which gives many British manufacturers an advantage when selling overseas. UKTI can help identify opportunities and markets, and research potential customers and provide introductions and we would urge other businesses to get in touch and see how we can help." David Hamer recently won Finance Monthly’s Award for CEO of the Year.