This month Perspex Distribution Limited (PDL) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. We wanted to share the remarkable story of how, under the strong leadership of the company’s Managing Director, Keith Piggott, and through the commitment of his loyal team, PDL has become the UK market leader in the supply of cast sheet acrylic and achieved industry-leading financial returns.
In 2003 Lucite International’s (LI) share of the UK cast acrylic sheet market had dwindled from 73% in the mid-90s to 18%. The distribution of Perspex® was carried out mainly by one distributor, who was not committed to the brand.
Keith left Amari Plastics PLC, the company he had founded and of which he was Managing Director, after it was acquired by an American Private Equity Group. Amari was market leader in the UK for the distribution of rigid thermoplastic sheets including cast acrylic sheet and was also a former distributor of Perspex®.
After leaving Amari, Keith remained in contact with Scott Davidson (former CEO, LI) and Alan Rodger (former European Business Director of Acrylic Sheet, LI). The three met and discussed possible solutions that would improve LI’s performance in the sale of Perspex® in the UK market and a decision was reached to form a distribution company, wholly owned by LI – Perspex Distribution Limited (PDL) –which would use LI’s manufacturing capability and resource together with Keith’s knowledge of the market and his successful track record over a number of years.
This was an entirely new venture into distribution for LI, which required vision, courage and belief. A five-year business plan was completed and on 1 October 2003 PDL’s first warehouse opened in Chelmsford, Essex. Quickly the team gained orders and new customers together with a strong reputation for excellent service. As well as cast acrylic sheet other products were offered including XT acrylic, polycarbonate and PVC to satisfy customer demands, particularly those in the sign and POS sectors.
A second warehouse was opened in Blackburn in 2004, a third in Tamworth in 2005 and a fourth in Weybridge in 2012.
PDL is now UK market leader in cast acrylic sheet with a market share of over 50%. It also has a good share of the XT sheet market. More than half the business by tonnes comes from products other than cast acrylic sheet. PDL consumes a significant proportion of LI sheet production from Darwen and over 4% of MMA produced in Cassel.
Over the last six years PDL has achieved financial returns which are industry leading within both plastics distribution and the wider industrial distribution sector.
Keith Piggott comments on what he thinks has been to key to PDL achieving success,
“It is necessary to have a shared vision and the right strategy and policies to achieve success. A motivated, committed and energetic team is vital to create relationships with each other and customers. Motivation, communication and involvement of all members of the team are vital. Excellent products from good suppliers are also paramount to be successful in the market. We need to demonstrate every day to our customers that we can provide products and a level of service, knowledge and information that will be of benefit to their business and convince them that their best distribution partner is PDL.”
These thoughts are echoed by LI’s EAME General Manager, Phil Bailey, who said: “The growth in sales volumes and the class leading financial performance achieved by the PDL team over the last 10 years have made a real contribution to the improvement in the overall EAME business during that time. The success has been achieved through excellent teamwork – whenever I visit a branch I’m always impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and drive to achieve the targets demonstrated by the team. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment and congratulate the whole PDL team on this 10 year anniversary.”
With the latest branch to open in Weybridge now firmly established and performing above ABR every month, we asked Keith what is in store for the future. He said: “As always, we are looking to continue to evolve and grow. Our current four branches are working well today, however, we see the need for further branches in order for us to continue to meet UK national demand. We also have opportunities to continue extending our product range, which will enable us to become a prominent player in other markets including print, LED and cast acrylic block. The management and staff of PDL view the future with excitement and confidence.”