Broadway’s Founder and Managing Director is featured in PlastikMedia’s latest ‘HotSeat’ article. Joe Maynard started the business in 1997 with just two other staff. As Broadway celebrates their 25th anniversary their impressive portfolio continues to grow, now employing a large team of around 60 employees. Read Joe’s thoughts below or see the PlastikMedia article here.

How has Broadway developed during your tenure?
In 25 years, Broadway has grown from just three people in a small unit, to become the business we are today – employing around 60 staff. Unlike the North West of England, East Anglia has no colouring industry. Colouring of textiles became a huge industry in the Victorian era in the North West, and knowledge of this overflowed into the plastics industry as this developed. To this day, we’re still the only company making masterbatch, custom compounds and roto powders in East Anglia. However, we have no shortage of plastic processing companies wanting to buy our products. Knowing we had a market right across our region gave us reason to believe Broadway would succeed in East Anglia – and so this has proved. In 2021 we expanded into the European mainland with the launch of Broadway GmbH in Germany. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and look forward to many more successful years.

What do you credit as the key to your success?
People. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really interesting people over the years, and I still do. They bring so much to the business; knowledge, ideas, passion, and dedication. Broadway would be nothing without the people who contribute so much. We have a culture where everyone looks out for one another and offers support where it’s needed. This has never been more important than in the last couple of years when we’ve had to weather many storms as a result of the pandemic. This approach benefits everyone, including our customers.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
As you can imagine, in 25 years of managing a business, I’ve experienced many different challenges. Financially hard times are difficult to take, but I find challenges involving people cause me the greatest concern. Making decisions for the good of the company always has to be a priority, but for me personally, there’s nothing more difficult than having to let someone go from the business, especially when you like them as an individual. It’s not something which I’ve ever found easy; fortunately, it hasn’t happened often.

What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Broadway respond?
Recycling and the increasing use of PCR will be the single biggest factor. The introduction of the plastic packaging tax poses challenges for the plastics industry and for Broadway. There is also a great opportunity for our business here as well. Customers looking to increase their use of PCR will come to us to formulate new colours and mitigate the visual limitations of the material. We have to guide them and also be creative to deliver solutions.

Plastic continues to receive a lot of bad press. Covid gave us a bit of a reprieve, but the industry needs to work harder to convey the importance of plastics in modern life when used sustainably and responsibly. Educating consumers about material choices is so important. In a world where reducing carbon emissions is a must, there’s a disproportionate focus on the end of life of plastics. The narrative needs to shift, so consumers are aware of the benefits of plastics. Corporations need to make well-informed decisions on material choices, and plastic is often the greenest choice.

What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry? Does it differ from the advice you would give to an apprentice joining today?
Coming from an engineering background, I was always interested in manufacturing. At this juncture, it’s hard for me not to get political. In the UK we spend only half the amount on training as other European countries do, and it shows throughout the whole of the business. I’d advise young people to stay in education for as long as possible. If you’re not academically gifted, and more practically minded, staying in education may not be particularly enjoyable, and sadly many choose to leave as soon as they can. However, there are lots of opportunities to study something vocational at college, and I’d encourage young people to do so in order to maximise their potential.

Give some thought as to what sort of job you’d like to do and then study something vocational that relates to it. This will give you the base knowledge for an employer to build on. For instance, if you’ve studied engineering, you’ll have some appreciation of machinery, which could lead to working in a manufacturing environment. Coming back to my political point, we need a lot more apprenticeships. This is hard to achieve when the government don’t provide the correct infrastructure or investment for this.

What hidden talents do you have?
I do like to cook at the weekends. My favourite dish at the moment is usually some Asian-inspired stir fry. Invariably I tend to make a bit of a mess, so get moaned at by my wife, who follows behind me clearing up!