Thermmark UK named top North West exporter for second year running

Local News 31 Mar 2023

Top team triumphs again in FSB North West Celebrating Small Business Awards

From its base in Congleton, Cheshire, Thermmark Ltd has grown to become the UK’s leading thermoplastic graphic markings supplier - scooping Exporter of the Year at FSB’s North West Celebrating Small Business Awards 2023 just a year after first being voted top International Business of the Year.

FSB Merseyside and Cheshire was delighted to catch up with the team and present the award.

Launched in 2013 by Neville Robson, who brought in Directors Vicki Robson, Ross Makin and Lee Scott, the company now exports its unique playground and road coatings to more than 30 countries all over the world.

We sell to all continents except Antarctica!” said Neville. “Social media has played a big part – it’s a niche market and we were out there. We had a lot of people downloading our images and coming to our door. We’ve had organic growth without much in the way of outbound sales really – just great customer service, and we don’t over-stretch ourselves. Every customer we gain we try to keep, and add more value in a structured way.”

Thermmark provides a mind-boggling array of colourful bespoke designs utilising water jet technology. Somewhat reassuringly, traditional hopscotch remains one of the most popular.

Like many exploring overseas trade for the first time, embracing exporting has come with challenges but worldwide, Thermmark has steadily grown its presence, learning key insights along the way to be able to provide exactly what different international markets want.

The company has also invested in innovation - technology and processes - which has been another game changer and reaped rewards.

We used to get material in and cut it with a pair of scissors, now we have our own cutting machines and manufacture it ourselves.  That has progressed to making our own plastic and we have just recruited our first chemist,” added Neville.

We never sit still or rest on our laurels. In the last few days I’ve had five enquiries from five different countries. All the time we just try to give them the service they’re looking for and provide the product they want.”

At the forefront are the principles of delivery and building client trust. The adage that your best customers are your existing customers even extends to personal friendships and trips to meet with clients face-to-face, and there are many other examples of this personal touch.

Director Ross Makin points to the performance of the company’s dedicated employees as one of Thermmark’s major strengths, most recently helping to negotiate the impact of leaving the EU and the pandemic, leading to a recognition as one of Forbes’ top 50 most resilient businesses in 2020.

There was a lot of concern from customers and we had to take time to reassure them, then huge delays in shipping and freight,” he said. “After Brexit, nobody could tell us the new rules as they were still being developed so we just had to respond on a trial-and-error basis, but the performance of the whole team was a major reason we did. One of our core values is that investing in the company means investing in the growth and development of our team.”

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