Biesterfeld Petroplas

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Biesterfeld Petroplas's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Biesterfeld Petroplas is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Guy Payne, managing director
Biesterfeld Petroplas is a distributor
of plastics, rubbers, composites
and speciality chemicals
Since their foundation in 1986, Biesterfeld Petroplas Ltd
have supported UK manufacturing by importing and
distributing cost-effective raw materials from around
the globe. They are a joint venture between UK and German
shareholders with long-term strategic objectives. In the last
decade they have grown their business fourfold to around
£23million in annual sales. Based on new supply partnerships,
their projection for the next three years will take Biesterfeld
Petroplas to over £40 million. How this success occurs is
elaborated on by their managing director, Guy Payne.
Commitment to best practice
Biesterfeld Petroplas is part of the Hamburg-based Biesterfeld Group. This is a
112-year-old, 1.2 billion global organisation with family majority ownership. As
such, we are able to leverage the benefits of size, such as access to pan-European
supply agreements. But as a mid-sized, UK-based company, Biesterfeld Petroplas
is able to maintain a high service level to our local markets. We are a distributor of
raw materials including plastics, rubbers, composites and speciality chemicals, with
plastics being our largest business.
Our office and field sales teams are in regular contact with our customers, most of
whom have been with us for many years. Our longer-term view enables us to invest
in staff, systems and further developing our business.
»Managing director: Guy Payne
»Established in 1986
»Based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire
»Services: Distributor of plastics
and speciality chemicals
»No. of employees: 16
»Sales: £23 million
»Joint venture between British
and German shareholders
»Supplies approximately 600
UK manufacturing companies
Biesterfeld Petroplas
Highlighting best practice
Finding and keeping the right people
is essential. We have a great team and
our success is down to their efforts.
We try to provide a good working
environment and show employees
they are valued. Staff turnover is low.
It is important everyone knows what
is expected of them and whether
they are doing the job well. We offer
regular training and feedback on
performance, and are always looking
to improve. With the same logic,
our people need to know how the
company is performing overall. In our
monthly team meetings, we share
detailed figures and openly discuss
where things are going well and
where we need to do better. We use
key performance indicators (KPIs) to
monitor not only recent performance
but also long-term trends. Based on
this analysis we can decide how and
when to adapt our plans in a fast-
moving and competitive world.
At Biesterfeld, we are constantly
investing in updating our systems. This
year we have completely redesigned
our customer relationship management
(CRM) software, improving many
aspects, such as project management.
Another example would be automating
aspects of our order processing
to speed up processes and reduce
Efficiency is important to us. We want
to add value not cost for our partners.
One KPI we use is sales per employee.
Having only recently added people
to develop new product lines, we are
currently a little below target today.
This is where our longer-term strategy
pays off. In new business areas we
measure sustainable progress towards
defined goals. Ensuring these are in
line with projections is more important
than short-term returns. This patient
but controlled approach allows us
to invest in new areas which need a
development period. However, we
stick to what we understand and
additions tend to complement existing
activities. Generally, this means
providing raw materials, technical
advice and customised logistics
solutions to manufacturing companies
in the UK and Ireland.
Supporting UK industry
The UK plastics industry is a key
part of the UK economy, employing
around 170,000 people and
generating revenue of £25.5 billion.
Indeed, plastics are a top-ten export
for the UK. Biesterfeld Petroplas
primarily supplies small and mid-
sized manufacturers, dealing with
around 600 companies each year.
The materials we provide are used in
a wide range of applications, from
medical devices to automotive and
packaging. They make medical test kits
more affordable and cars lighter and
Plastic wing mirrors are
light, aerodynamic and
cost effective
Plastic is used in medical
The materials
we provide
are used in a
wide range of
from medical
devices to
and packaging
more fuel efficient. Plastic packaging
will extend the shelf life of food and
reduce wastage. However, recycling
needs to be made much easier in the
UK. Informed and balanced leadership
is required here.
Environmental considerations
Environmental aspects and sustainability
are important issues for Biesterfeld.
We have signed up to Operation
Clean Sweep and insist our warehouse
partners do the same. This puts in
place measures to reduce the loss of
plastic pellets and powders into the
environment. At a group level we have
offset CO2 emissions from our business
travel by investing in sustainable forest
protection in Brazil. Inspections are
carried out by independent auditors
and the project is certified according
to the Verified Carbon Standard.
Our project, which is described in
our annual group sustainability
report, ensured deforestation of
around 64,000 trees was avoided.
Furthermore, we have introduced
biodegradable, bio-based and recycled
products into our UKportfolio.
International trade
Biesterfeld Petroplas work closely with
our international suppliers. Many of
them are among the world’s largest
companies. We work hard to foster
long-term relationships and make
lasting contacts to ensure continuity
of supply for our customer base.
This requires flexibility in approach
as our partners on one continent do
not always conduct business in the
same way as those on another. Due
to our extensive network we often
bring new producers and materials
to UK manufacturers, offering new
opportunities for them.
As a UK-based importer and exporter,
Biesterfeld Petroplas pay close
attention to factors which could affect
our business and our customers. Our
raw materials are sourced from the EU,
the USA, the Far East and the Middle
East. As such, we have a particular
interest in how the Brexit negotiations
are conducted and concluded. Any
change (or potential change) in
legislation could have an impact on
business prospects with these regions.
Will compliance regulations stay the
same, for example, for food and
pharmaceuticals? Will import duties
change? Will additional checks and
paperwork be required on imported
goods and what might the cost and
other implications be? At the moment
we’re just guessing and it’s not
possible to make too much meaningful
preparation. But as a well-established,
growing UK company which is part of
a large international group, we feel
confident about ourfuture.
Biesterfeld offers carbon
fibre, which is used in
light-weighting vehicles
Injection-moulded plastic
parts being produced
work closely
with our

This article was sponsored by Biesterfeld Petroplas. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister