To mark our 80th Birthday, we caught up with some of our longest-serving employees to learn about their experiences and how things have changed at Marshall-Tufflex over the years. Michael Ballard has been with the company for over 30 years and is our International Sales Director.
Can you give an overview of your journey at Marshall-Tufflex?
My career at Marshall-Tufflex began as Export Office Supervisor, dealing with quotes and processing and shipping all export orders. After a brief period in Total Quality Management, I realised that working in sales was where I could add real value and thrive, and I took on the role of European Sales Manager. For seven years I was lucky enough to live and work in France, developing our presence in Europe, before moving back to the UK as Regional Sales Manager. In 2012 I was promoted to International Sales Director.
Tell us more about your role
As International Sales Director, I am focused on supporting distributors across all overseas regions to ensure that they are equipped with the products and information needed to provide the best service possible to consultants and contractors. As well as working closely with existing customers, I also support new business development and work with the wider Marshall-Tufflex team to bring new product and services to the market.
How has Marshall-Tufflex changed during your time at the company?
Marshall-Tufflex has been pioneering plastic extrusion for 80 years, but in recent times has refined its processes to create a focused range of cable management solutions that contractors and installers need and can rely on. Investment in our manufacturing facility has enabled us to generate our own recycled material and produce sustainable PVC-U cable management solutions.
However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the family culture. We are a tight-knit team, and every employee is made to feel recognised and appreciated for the hard work that they do.
What do you think is the company’s biggest strength?
Marshall-Tufflex has been at the forefront of innovation, and our long heritage and expertise in plastic extrusion, with products manufactured in the UK, is what sets us apart in the cable management sector. I am incredibly proud to work for a company that is driving forward the use of recycled PVC-U in our industry – and the news that we achieved 74% recycled material across out PVC-U range in 2020 has been a real highlight.
What are you expecting for Marshall Tufflex 2022?
Supporting distributors is always my priority and I am looking forward to returning to travel now that restrictions are easing, to meet my customers face-to-face. That said, the pandemic has introduced the world to the power of video conferencing which, for us, has enabled our workforce to continue to speak with customers regularly and provide instant support when needed – and it is certainly something I think we will continue to use.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still lingering and for international business we have felt some disruption to logistics and supply. Whilst there may be challenges, my experience at Marshall-Tufflex has taught me that as a company, we can adapt and evolve and work together to overcome issues so that we continue to provide quality goods and quality service, with the customer at the forefront. Being privately owned and British based means we are not bound by the corporate red tape and decision making committees that other businesses may face and therefore, we can act with agility and speed to move forward in the right way, whatever the future holds.
What do you like to get up to when you’re not working?
I am an avid cook and can often be found with my nose in a good book. I also enjoy watching sport and Formula 1 is a definite favourite – but don’t mention the Abu Dhabi race to me!
Lastly, if you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
I am fortunate that my job has taken me to some fantastic places across the world, but a place that I haven’t yet explored is Japan. I would love to spend more time discovering this region.