A company with clear strategic plans for future growth, Technical Foam Services has an ethos of looking after the people within the firm just as much as it looks after those outside – the customers.
The Corby-based specialist foam manufacturer and converter supplies products to some of the most successful companies and innovative start-ups, with a customer base that stretches across the world.
But at the heart of the company’s success is the team at the production headquarters on the Earlstrees Industrial Estate, where Managing Director Duncan Geddes is determined to build a workforce that feels valued, supported and very much a part of the ongoing growth and development of the company.
“Our stated mission is to offer high-quality, high-tech solutions with no-nonsense guidance, competitive pricing and 100% customer satisfaction,” said Duncan. “But the way we do that goes way further than the face of the business that our customers see. They know me, they know the sales team, but what I think is just as important is the bit they don’t see, and that’s the factory floor workers who are, in the end, crucial in making sure that we keep our customers happy.”
Technical Foam Services stocks over 300 different grades of foam for acoustic, automotive, filtration, medical, packaging and retail customers. Its in-house engineering department has the capacity to design and build bespoke tooling and machines to create prototypes and new products to almost any specification.
The firm has recently been awarded ISO 45001 alongside its existing ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards. The latest achievement, overseen during the past two years by Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager David Hood, makes Technical Foam Services the first UK-based foam converter to hold all three accreditations. Although attaining such standards has been time-consuming and hard work, it is part of Duncan’s ambition to not only see Technical Foam Services grow but to show that it is a successful and ethical business.
In order to achieve his aims, he’s working with brand, engagement and management consultant, Andy Goram from Bizjuicer, with a view to taking the £6m turnover business with 45 members of staff to the next level.
Andy explained: “I help businesses find the connection between purpose, strategy, values, behaviours and the people inside a business, that when aligned make a company more successful. People spend a lot of money telling customers how good they are and why they’re different from the competition, but they don’t always share that with their staff. If you don’t make your team feel valued or show them what you want from the business and what their part is in that, then they won’t engage as much as they could.
“Technical Foam Services is ready to take that next step in terms of growth of the company and what is great is the culture that already exists, and how everyone is ready to be part of that growth.”
Part of Andy’s role recently has been to interview members of staff to find out about their backgrounds and tell their stories. With a diverse workforce – around three quarters of the workforce are from Eastern Europe – Duncan felt that it would be of interest to colleagues and visitors to the website to know more about everyone involved.
The stories that have come out of Andy’s interviews are published in the Blogs section on the website and include the story of Andrzej, who studied Economics, IT and Data in his native Poland but the lack of opportunity saw him move to England, where he joined a hand car wash crew and says: “People who complain about hard work don’t know hard work until they’ve worked for a hand car-cleaning business.” Or Richard Dixon, who has been with Technical Foam Services for 25 years and is also treasure of Wellingborough Archaeological & Historical Society, a collector of postcards, member of his local camera club and Chair of Wellingborough Works Education Association. There’s also Iwona who is a qualified criminal psychologist and spends night shifts on the production line listening to true crime and Agatha Christie stories to help improve her English.
Andy said: “Doing these interviews has been the most amazing experience for me because it has shown me that everyone has a story to tell. People who you might view in a certain way, as a migrant worker making a living in this country, but who are doing so to make a better life for themselves, to earn money and get experience and build for the future when they will put their other skills to good use. Or people who have fascinating hobbies and lives away from work, that you’d never know about and have so much to say and experiences to share.
“That’s what should be at the heart of a company, the human beings who work so hard behind the scenes to make sure everything is done and completed the way it should be. People are a critical resource and companies that make their employees feel wanted and valued, and part of the overall process, find that everything just works better, leading to success all round.”