Royal recognition for Milton Keynes company “holding the world together”

Mon 23 Apr 2012

The next time you open a packet of cereal, get in your car, build a flat pack chest of drawers, swig on a soft drink or climb into bed, a tiny little part of what you are doing may all be down to a company in Milton Keynes which has just won a remarkable fifth Queen’s Award for Industry. 

Beardow Adams is not a household name, but it is almost certain you have some of their products in your house right now.  The company makes what are called “hot melt adhesives,” glues involved in sticking almost anything together from labels on jars and bottles to wood panels and car trim.  It develops and manufactures products specifically to meet customer needs, and seventy per cent of its output is exported, which is why the Queen’s Award is for International Trade.

“It’s a great boost for our eighty-five staff and something they richly deserve,” says Nick Beardow, the company’s Sales and Marketing Director.   “The company started thirty-five years ago and to win our fifth Queen’s Award in that time and have a turnover of £50 million shows that we, all of us, must be doing something right.”

The company sells to some big names including Coca Cola, Nestlé, Colgate and Unilever.  Its glues are more efficient and more environmentally friendly than traditional products and can be used in extremes of temperature and humidity.  Hot melt adhesives work by being applied in liquid form and hardening as they cool, sometimes in less than a second.  This makes using them in production processes much less time consuming than glues which have to dry out to work.

“We’re not the cheapest player in the market nor are we the biggest,” Nick says, “but where we win is that our products are specifically developed for the customer’s needs and they’re really reliable so there’s no chance of production being stopped because the things aren’t working properly – the biggest problem facing manufacturers using the wrong glue.”

Last year Beardow Adams was named one of the UK’s one hundred fastest growing companies, partly as a result of their successful expansion into markets as far afield as Australia, Chile and South Africa. 

“We so often hear about how British manufacturing is dead and that we don’t export,” says Nick, “but it’s just not true.  Interestingly, the Queen’s Award has a big impact outside this country.  The Queen is still held in high esteem and that Royal recognition counts for a great deal in many places – even in Argentina where you might have thought they would be a bit anti the British monarchy.”

The company’s big goal at the moment is to become a more significant player in the Asia-Pacific markets.  It already sells to Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines but they want to crack China, Japan and Korea too.

Nick says, “Everyone here is really proud of the way that the things we make in Milton Keynes are sold all round the world.  It proves that Britain really can compete, we’re delighted to be a part of the export drive and greatly honoured by this award.”

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