Looking closer to home for new opportunities

By David Dodds, Sackers
Like many organisations, we have adapted as a result of the pandemic; what has happened has made us look at every aspect of our business, our processes, our staff and our productivity.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Summer 2021
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Sharing experience: Sackers

Over the last five years, we have grown our international trade by 77%.  A small amount goes to the EU, but the majority of export sales comes from India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. So, when the pandemic hit and borders closed, the challenge of shipping our processed scrap metal around the world had a big impact on our business. We own one of the only metal shredders of its size in the region that can process and sort large items of metal like aircraft and cars. This makes us different to other metal buyers regionally as we can sell to the end-user, the majority of which are international.

Yet, we didn’t stand still.  It allowed us to turn our focus to parts of our business that were most profitable and which we thought would provide us with the most opportunities. We also looked inwards, identifying where we could make savings and operate more efficiently.

Times like this make you pull together, and you realise what a great team you have around you. All staff from those on the floor “doing the doing”, to the Senior Leadership team, supported the business in its survival to adapt and improve.

Our people are our business

Our people are a vital cog in the wheel that keeps Sackers moving and they have really stepped up over recent months. I had 1-2-1’s with everyone, creating a very strong team with some staff taking on new roles or covering other areas of work to help get the jobs done. As well as holding weekly senior leadership team meetings where we all pull together using our experience, to decide how we move forward, we have introduced a Lean Improvement Team which comprises representatives from all areas of the business. Its sole function is to investigate and introduce ways we can run more efficiently. As a result, it gives us a better understanding of what’s happening internally and allows our workforce to play a part in the resilience of our business. I now think we have a better grasp on what we do well and where we can do better.

We also introduced a suggestion box for ways to work more efficiently, save money or reduce downtime. Alongside this we have a culture club to engender the positive approach that we want staff to come to work with and conduct throughout their day. Our core values are accountability, responsibility, generosity (with their time and support), courage and continuous improvement. We live by the hashtags #dreamitdoit #choosepositity.We have mental health ambassadors and a private helpline to support those who are struggling and Covid was a particularly challenging time.

As a result, we increased production and in turn, revenue. We’ve had a record breaking six months, increasing the number of our 40ft shipping containers by 47% and our 20ft containers by 24%.

The pandemic has meant that Sackers has become more agile, mobile and responsive and I am positive about the future. We have plans to grow in the next year with new machines, new staff and a strong strategy to generate an output of 60% more tonnage of scrap metal processed.

David Dodds is Managing Director of Sackers. To find out more about skip hire, scrap metal buying, hazardous and commercial waste disposal including confidential waste contact: T: 01473 830373
E: recycle@sackers.co.uk or visit sackers.co.uk

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