ADVANCED Polymers recently celebrated 25 years of success. Starting out as a modest outfit in 1992 supplying the South African plastics industry with leading polymer brands, the company now imports, sells and distributes a diverse range of quality engineering polymers sourced from the world’s most reputable suppliers.
With warehouses in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, the company is able to deliver promptly anywhere in South Africa.
Ten years after Advanced Polymers was established, Brad Jay, now chairman, bought the business in 2002. In 2003 Les Whittal joined the company and is now managing director.
“Our aim was to build a strong national sales team, to grow the business with the base of products at the time with a view to expanding into different products i.e. diversify. What we see today is a totally different business to then, our product range, turnover and profitability have been exceeded beyond expectation,” says Les.
“The majority of the sales team are shareholders and directors of the business, all having put money and lots of time and effort to get where we are today and have all been with the company for over 10 years,” he adds.
Advanced Polymers has faced some challenges during its 25 years of operation, but have always managed to overcome them.
“The majority of brands in our business are well known now, but in 2003 they were not. This was probably the toughest part of our growth phase, getting the market to work with us and move away from the traditional well-known brands at the time,” Les explains.
“Operationally there were a lot of processes we had to implement, Brad’s expertise in this field and his ability to integrate the various aspects of the business to work as one is the main reason for what we have in place today. For me to run the business off this base has allowed for more focus on delivering growth,” he adds.
Staff is company’s strength
“What’s exciting for me is that every year we exceed our budget targets, this is put down to a work ethic second to none by all 18 of our employees. Our staff is our strength! We have a low percentage of staff turnover which means we have a happy environment to work in,” says Les.
“When a company has synergy with staff, suppliers and customers, the chain is complete and one can only be successful from that point, we have this!” he adds. “Our success is all due to hard work and more hard work! We now have a well-balanced business that is strong financially and operationally and our sales team all have over 20 years’ experience in the plastics industry. Our strategy of diversifying has worked very well for us and what we have today is very different to what we had in 2003. As a privately owned company we are extremely proud of what we have achieved to date.”
Over the years Advanced Polymers has built itself a reputation globally.
“We now have strong brands - some that have been dormant or have had no exposure in South Africa - approaching us to represent them locally, a big feather in our cap!
“Our strong service levels in supplying the local market will continue, this sets us apart,” concludes Les.