We talk to Packexe founder Andrew Orchard about how he came up with the idea and how the product has developed over the years.
PB: Take us back to those days early days and a world of improvised old newspapers and, if the customer was really lucky of course, threadbare dust sheets to protect the building fabric during renovation work. You clearly identified the need for a more professional protection product which was easy to apply and afforded greater all round flexibility for the tradesperson.
Using dustsheets for something they’re not intended for never really made sense to me. They’re ideal for protecting furniture from dust but when used as a protective layer for surfaces, they have severe limitations.
I had the idea for a protection film when I was helping a friend move house. Navigating hallways covered with dustsheets, putting on and removing shoes every time we crossed from inside to out, the whole thing was a hassle. I thought there must be a product that makes this simpler. I searched the internet for what I was looking for, a protective film to cover surfaces, and found there was no product, it didn’t exist.
Immediately the cogs started turning and the idea came about – provide a protective film that can be left on surfaces during the duration of a project, cleaned thoroughly and supply all round excellent protection. It all just seemed far more logical.
PB: Take us through some of the thinking behind the product development over the years.
Innovation is all about creating products that change the way people work. That’s always been my aim; design products that are easier to use, safer to implement and overall more cost effective than others on the market.
But it hasn’t all been simple, getting the range we have today didn’t happen without some hiccups. After carpet film, our next design was multi surface film. The idea being it would protect a variety of surfaces from wooden floors to kitchen work tops. Much to my annoyance at the time, the film didn’t live up to its name. The adhesive wasn’t right for what we were trying to sell and that’s when I realised one size fits all is not applicable to protection film.
It took a further 18 months of development and rigorous testing, but from this minor failure came the birth of hardfloor and interior surface- two great successes. I realised creating a range of films for various surfaces was the way forward. Glass and Glazing, Packexe Fleece and our dispensers then followed as a natural progression.
With each new product the observations we’ve uncovered from those previous are eliminated. It’s a constant learning curve and a bit long-winded at times, but the hard work continues to pay off.
PB: Clearly you haven’t had things all your own way with a multitude of other protection plastic films coming onto the market. What differentiates Packexe as a company from the rest? What criteria should the tradesperson insist upon when making a selection?
For me, it’s always been about tailoring the product to fit the customer. Over the years we’ve built a team with extensive knowledge of print and production and as a result we always deliver with confidence. Nothing goes to market until I am 100 per cent satisfied with it, and even then, I’ll check it a few more times just to be sure.
High on the Packexe priority list are safety and durability. Everyone expects to feel safe in the work place and it’s no different when you’re working for yourself. Trades people need products they can trust. That’s why our films are certified low slip with uniquely designed adhesives that are perfectly matched to the surface they’re protecting. No rucking, no slipping, just high quality protection.
It’s for these kinds of reasons that it saddens me, that within seconds of searching for protection films online, customer comments about unbranded clear films not delivering on the very basics are easy to find.
There are complaints of films being too sticky, not sticky enough and causing floor damage when removed. Stories of customers having to chase down tradespeople and wholesalers, it’s all very disheartening.
Quite frankly, with all the complaints seen online it beggar’s belief these clear films are still being sold.
It’s easy to copy a plastic film, but it’s designing a product that is trusted by its customers that’s difficult and requires a certain dedication. And that’s where we differ.
PB: We understand a version of the product has been adopted by other sectors of industry in especially demanding situations. Tell us more.
That’s right! We’re this year celebrating our tenth year working alongside the rescue services. Our rescue products SMASH and Sharpswrap are becoming a crucial part of extrication kit in fire teams both in the UK and across the globe. It’s not an avenue I ever planned to head down but when the opportunity to research and create a unique product presented itself, it all just seemed to fit.
We adapted a special glass management film that allows critical time to be saved in a vehicle rescue situation. SMASH ensures that vehicle glass is managed whilst extrication is taking place, protecting the potential casualties and the rescuer. Adapting our dispensing system to deliver a one-person patented application tool was another great step.