UK Plastic Crates And Pallet Company Expands

May 25, 2010
by Jenny Pilley (OfficialWire)


PPS specialises in the rental, management and washing of plastic crates and plastic pallets and has established a solid reputation servicing a number of blue chip companies, primarily in the food sectors. However, the ambitions of the owners of the business were such that they were actively looking to expand their operations, not only organically, but also in terms of an acquisition.

Specialists in Returnable Transit Equipment

PPS has been managing pools of plastic crates and plastic pallets for a number of years. Operating throughout the UK, the main focus of the company’s activities has been in the food arena, and more specifically in the poultry, beef and bacon sectors.

The company owns a substantial fleet of plastic pallets and plastic crates which they rent out to clients and to whom they offer their “full service option”. This entails the PPS customer using the proprietary PPS online asset tracking system, known as Enable, to place their orders for plastic crates and/or plastic pallets for the coming week. The pre-ordered plastic pallets and plastic crates are subsequently delivered to the client, who packs them, despatches them to their customers, entering data onto the Enable system.

PPS then arranges to collect the used plastic pallets and plastic crates from third parties and bring them back to its Measham site where they have an industrial grade state-of-the-art wash facility. All returned plastic crates and plastic pallets are washed to the highest of standards – PPS were accredited to ISO 22000 last year (safety in the food industry).

With clients from Central Scotland right through to Cornwall, PPS built up a solid reputation and as such much of its subsequent business has been generated by word of mouth and on recommendations.

As the company grew more successful, the Directors of the business started to consider the next phase of its expansion. As well as managing pools of plastic crates and plastic pallets, PPS has started to sell excess wash capacity to third parties who either needed a continual ongoing wash facility or even to companies who had their own washing operation, but needed extra wash capacity during seasonal production spikes.

PPS started to look at not only expanding on its current site, but also at the possibility of opening new operations in other parts of the country, closer to a particular industry or industrial sub-sector. One such option which was investigated was to consider opening an operation in Central Scotland, specifically aimed at the burgeoning aquaculture sector. In brief to offer washing, rental and complete management services for plastic crates and plastic pallets to the main fish farming operations, most of whom are based in the North or North West of Scotland, but transport their products through Central Scotland.

At this time, the Directors of PPS started looking at other possible opportunities not only in the fish farming sector, but also the landed fishing industry. And the obvious starting point for any such investigation had to be Grimsby.

Research showed that there was already a similar type of operation to PPS operating in Grimsby, that is, offering plastic crates on a rental basis, collection of the crates and washing them at the Grimsby Fish Market. This was TFA Box Company who was providing a very similar service within the fishing industry as that provided by PPS in other food-related sectors.

The first reaction of PPS was to consider setting up its own independent wash facility in Grimsby, which in effect would have set them in direct competition with TFA. The rationale at this time was that PPS had years of experience in the management of plastic crates and plastic pallets, they had reached a high degree of proficiency in their wash operations, and they brought a first class reputation as a reliable service provider to a number of large corporations.

What they quickly realised however is that they had very little knowledge of the local fish market and processors! It became clear that this was a very close-knit market where everyone knew their neighbour’s business. And as a result the conclusion of the PPS board was that as outsiders it would probably be too difficult to try to break into a highly defined and protective market.

At that point a decision was made by PPS to approach TFA with a view to a possible acquisition. Subsequently a number of formal and informal meetings were held between the Directors of both companies to determine if there was scope and willingness on both sides regarding a possible purchase of TFA by PPS.

Moving ahead some months, the acquisition has been completed to all parties’ satisfaction and the management is now looking at expanding the larger business, although it is assumed any major expansion will still be food-related.

Furthermore, the new operation, shortly to be re-named PPS East Ltd is in the process of moving its wash and office facilities to a new, modern site on the Omega Estate in Grimsby. The new premises offer the possibility of further expansion and for most of the existing workforce (all of whom have been retained) the move to the new site is more convenient for their daily commute.

Director of the new joint operation, Iain McArthur said “We first of all decided to try to break into the fish market with our services for returnable packaging, but quickly realised we would need help. Over the past few months working with the Directors of TFA we have learned a tremendous amount about the fishing industry, information that would have taken us years to amass. Our new colleagues at PPS East have integrated very well into our company and its ethos and with a number of new expansion projects already on the drawing board we are all very excited about growing the brand name”.

All of the services PPS provide are viewable via their website. To find out more information you can contact a member of the PPS by calling 01530 515 333, or by filling out their ‘Contact Us’ form.

PPS is an established company that has many years experience within the Returnable Transit Equipment trade. To see how they can improve the efficiency of your business, visit

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