A LEADING plastic ware firm has invested £750,000 in new machinery to keep their operations ahead of the curve.

And the two new state-of-the-art pieces of bakeware equipment should also boost What More UK’s environmental reputation, as well as being capable of making 8,000 baking trays over a 10-hour shift.

Tony Grimshaw, a company director, said: " As a leading manufacturer of housewares, cookware, and bakeware, it’s important for us to lead the way in creating these products in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

"We want to do our bit, and also to encourage other companies to follow suit. We are very pleased that British made products are fast becoming the starting point for UK retailers.

"We are more than ready to accept their orders along with those from our many overseas customers."

Garry Ireland, their operations director, described the machines as the "Rolls Royce" of their kind and added: "It's important we can deliver the best possible products in the shortest amount of time.The new additions are fantastic. They have a much lower carbon footprint and a quicker running time than the previous machines. That means more productivity, more efficiency, and less waste."

Last year What More enjoyed double-digit growth and bosses are hopeful they can repeat for 2020.

Meanwhile the firm has been celebrating the achievements of one of its most experienced salesmen.

Peter Ellis has around 40 years under his belt in the houseware industry and has seen a raft of changes. He was considering retirement seven years ago before being approached by Andy Holt, What More's managing director.

Since then the company has developed a new sales territory for the veteran and he's looking forward to his 40th Spring Fair, an annual get-together for the trade, at Birmingham's NEC.

Mr Ellis has offered advice to those considering a career in sales.

He said: "Relationships grow over time. If you take advantage you might make a bit extra in the short term, but they'll never have you back."

Peter Ellis is the sort of man who reminds us that sales is still a noble profession. He’s achieved a lot during his ongoing career and proved himself not only a fine salesman but also a man of integrity and a cyclist with an eye for the next mountain to climb.

7 years ago, Peter Ellis was celebrating 33 years in the housewares industry and thinking about retiring with his pushbike to the French countryside. That plan was put on hold when Andy Holt, Managing Director of What More UK, approached Mr. Ellis with a different idea. He asked him to delay his well-earned retirement for a few more years. Looking back on it, that turned out to be a very good decision for both men.

What More UK created a new sales territory specially for Mr. Ellis and within a few years he doubled the sales value of that area to a seven-figure sum.

If you ask him how he’s done it, he’s very clear:

“First and foremost, I can only do what I do with the support of What More. The way they operate is second to none. If I order something, it gets delivered. If I need something doing, it gets done. It’s the best company I’ve ever worked for and the back-office support is fantastic!”

But that’s not the whole story, far from it. Being a great salesman is all about building trust and respect, and Mr. Ellis has got to a point where his clients let him write out his own orders keeping the shelves stocked without the need for a constant back and forth.

Mr Ellis’s advice to anyone beginning a career in sales is “always be straight with people and leave every account in a situation where you can go back there. You make your living on repeat business.”

“Relationships grow over time” he explains, “If you take advantage you might make a bit extra in the short term, but they’ll never have you back.”

Looking back over his career, Mr Ellis has seen lots of changes in the industry. From the introduction of the internet bringing direct sales online, through to the necessity of recycling and reusing plastics, but one constant has been Spring Fair, held at the NEC in Birmingham. This year he’ll be attending his 40th show; that fact on its own speaks volumes.

Peter Ellis is so much more than a great salesman, he’s an elder statesman of industry, and if anyone deserves an award it’s him.