Loadhog – The Power of Many Owners
Loadhog, designer and manufacturer of innovative returnable packaging solutions, has undertaken significant operational and strategic change over the last three years and consequently grown 205% from a £9.5M business to £29M last year. Last year saw the largest period of growth the company has seen, and yet performance levels have been maintained in 2021, which is surprising to say considering the state of play for many businesses during the pandemic.
The opportunity came about for Loadhog to adapt and grow significantly through the increase in ecommerce led logistics, with large corporations looking to enhance their supply chain efficiencies at a hectic time when speed of delivery was essential. Loadhog also took advantage of the big environmental shift, with businesses looking to improve their green credentials with Loadhog’s reusable, recycled and recyclable packaging solutions. The business saw such an increase in demand that big investment and developments to their manufacturing processes were required. The change was so significant for Loadhog’s pallet securing product line in fact, that in 2018 the business was capable of manufacturing less than 1% of what it is capable of producing now.
The key drivers in discovering and embracing this opportunity are threefold; the businesses aptitude for new product investment, the culture embraced by the people of Loadhog and, most importantly, the people themselves. In the last three years Loadhog has increased their operation from 90 employees in total to 162, with 100+ of the group being made up of employee owners. Each and every one of these employees has played a vital role in delivering this transformation.
To mention a few;
On the factory floor, to achieve such increased volume, Loadhog required production staff that understood the ins and outs of the product and that were capable of teaching new members of staff each and every specific detail to pay attention to when maintaining the high standards of Loadhog’s developing production process. For example long serving team members, such as Paul Roberts (11 years) and Craig Curnow (18 years), stepped into shift leader roles and drove productivity from within.
Within Loadhog’s product development department, design engineer’s such as Luke Davis (13 years) and Leigh Jowett (16 years) have driven product improvement and enhanced its technical performance, while maintaining a focus on Loadhog’s product development objective, whereby 25% of its turnover must come from solutions less than 5 years old.
Long serving sales director Damien Montagne (17 years) has been essential in driving the project forward, ensuring Loadhog’s wealth of market knowledge in logistics packaging is passed onto the customer and that they see the value that returnable packaging can bring. Meanwhile front line sales people such as Sarah Cottingham (5 years) and Boris Berghmans (7 years) have had to support new regions and sectors as well as embrace new ways of getting in front of the customer; teams call, conference call, kids screaming in the background call, take your pick.
Production manager Paul Tully (14 years) and quality manager Matt Payne (5 years) have overseen the introduction of larger production cells and new processes that have brought the business forward in terms of output and quality. A quick change up was important to take advantage of the position the business found itself in but it has been just as high a priority maintaining the employees’ health & safety and ensuring guidelines were met. Lisa Harman (3 years), who transferred from our sister company Gripple, has had to jump in head first to a new role, looking after the Loadhog people and maintaining the culture that delivers an edge over other companies.
No one person can take credit for the award winning results Loadhog has managed to achieve in the last few years, all 162 members of the business could be mentioned in this effort, however the passion displayed on a daily basis, the innovation that is generated from within and the engagement shown by the entire workforce, can be put down to the fact that it is predominantly made up of employee owners, a workforce that has a stake in its success, care more about the direction it takes and have the power to implement change. Employee ownership has enabled the business to be versatile and forward thinking at a time when it has never been more vital.