Jobs boost as Doncaster manufacturer Polypipe expands and looks to boost its green credentials

It's already one of Doncaster's biggest employers.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th September 2018, 10:12 am
Doona Edwards and Denise Grove, pictured on the Undersink Trap assembly line. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-08-18-Polypipe-4
Doona Edwards and Denise Grove, pictured on the Undersink Trap assembly line. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-08-18-Polypipe-4

But with the construction industry busy, and demand for their drainage products increasing, Polypipe is growing, with recruitment ongoing for more staff at its Edlington base, and turnover up.

Martin Payne, who has been chief executive at the firm for nearly a year, expects more staff to be taken on next year too.

Doona Edwards and Denise Grove, pictured on the Undersink Trap assembly line. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-08-18-Polypipe-4

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He is confident for the future, and has plans to expand both the workforce and the space available for product storage on the site..

He said: 'Polypipe has a clear strategy, its finances are healthy and we have a good relationship with our customers.

'Our staff here have a can-do attitude, a lot of pride in the brand and our headquarters are here in Doncaster. My job is to set objectives and steer the business and its employees to achieve those objectives.

'In terms of strategy, there are a number of things that have been successful. We have been growing.

Polypipe CEO Martin Payne, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-08-18-Polypipe-3

'There has been a 6.3 per cent rise in revenue last year, slightly faster in Doncaster, where our residential business is based.

'Plastic is substituting legacy materials, in plumbing where it is taking over from copper, and in drainage where it is substituting concrete and clay.'

The firm runs three bases in Doncaster. The main headquarters at Broomhouse Lane in Edlington, and at Kirk Sandall and Wheatley Hall Road.

The sites are high tech, with robots carrying out much of the work, although there is a 1,200 strong workforce in the borough.

Alison Marshall, pictured on the Rain Water assembly line. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-08-18-Polypipe-7

It is doing well.

Mr Payne said: 'The Residential segment of our business, which is predominantly in Doncaster, grew at 10.3 per cent last year. At the half year, this year, we were 5.9 per cent up despite the bad weather in February and March. The winter was difficult because at times, house builders could not get on site, and we could not dispatch on some days because the of the snow.

'With growth at these levels, we continue to invest in product storage and production capacity - we installed a new £2.2m production line in Doncaster last year to manufacture multilayer extruded pipe.

'We are now using more re-cycled plastic material. As a group we are up to 40 per cent, and we have our own recycling plant in Lincolnshire, turning recycled milk bottles into drainage pipe.

The ABB Yuni, a collaborative robot, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP-28-08-18-Polypipe-6

'It is harder to use recycled material in residential applications because of the product standards. But the new multilayer machine means we can use virgin material on the outside and inside, but re-cycled in the middle. It saves us some money and its a good story for the environment.

'But we still have to store the products, and that is something we're looking to address next year, on land that we already own next to the site.

'We are continuing to increase headcount as the business grows, and are recruiting.'

The firm is a backer of the planned Doncaster University Technical College, which is due to open next year, and has a representative on its board, Cameron McLennan.

Polypipe have 32 apprentices at present and regard the UTC as important for providing a skilled workforce in the future.

But Mr Payne also believes other major training developments in the borough will help employers, such as the recently opened National College for High Speed Rail.

High Speed Rail could be a boost for Polypipe, as the way it is being built, with on a concrete base rather than a gravel base, requires a drainage system of the sort Polypipe manufacture.

It is also a firm that is aware of its environmental responsibilities.

There has been concern in the media about plastics in the environment.

Mr Payne believes an important element of the concern is about where plastics are disposed and believes one of the big issues in the debate is people littering plastic.

But the firm itself is increasing the green credentials of its plastics, and they are now 99 per cent recyclable at the end of their life.

Mr Payne is proud of his products. He said: 'Manufacturing is alive and well in Doncaster.'