For the first time in its 27 year history, Apex Specialist Solutions have liveried vans coming and going from their Aberdeen premises. The vans aren’t an innovation but the distinctive red and blue branding is. This is just one of a whole raft of changes which have been going on quietly at the Apex building for more than a year, the building which is home to a company dedicated to supplying and selling speciality chemicals for on and offshore businesses.
Now all the major decisions have been made and most, but not quite all, have been implemented. The changes include the company name, previously AIC, standing for Apex Industrial Chemicals. There’s the logo which has retained the corporate red and blue colours. It appears on the front of the building, in reception, on all the stationary and by the summer will feature on all the newly designed packaging. There have been changes in personnel to take the staff total to 40.
Managing director Steve McGilvray took up his post in July 2008 and has been the prime mover in all that has happened in the past 18 months. And he’s not finished yet.
“Our objective is a £15 million turnover over the next five years through a mixture of modernising the business and growing certain elements of it. There’s growth potential in both the onshore and offshore sectors.
“And we are very serious about acquiring businesses that complement what we do, on both the manufacturing and sales fronts. The common theme must be that they are profitable and fill a niche in the speciality products market.”
Apex specialises in added value speciality produces. “We sell on quality; we can define the features and benefits of our products. A customer comes to us with a problem, we solve it,” says Steve. “We don’t do commodity products.”
The changes extend to the building. £500,000 has been spent on extending it and enlarging and updating the lab. This is where the speciality answers to client questions are developed.
“We are a true manufacturer in that we take the raw materials, blend and formulate them to make the finished product,” he explained. Wherever possible, greener technologies are incorporated.
Right now, Apex has three new products just waiting for packaging to be finalised. These are a bleach-free high performance toilet cleaner which will be kinder to the environment than anything available at present; a hand sanitising foam which is effective against MRSA, c.diff, swine flu etc; and a high performance offshore degreaser.
Steve is very aware that the chemicals industry has the reputation as being environmentally unfriendly and he is passionate about Apex’s green credentials, from scrupulously clean and tidy yards, through working to reducing waste, to creating products which can be diluted up to 1:30 parts so that the concentrated form takes up less space and is more efficient to transport.
“We don’t ship water,” he stressed.
Apex products are shipped all over the world and even this side of the business has been overhauled and streamlined. The company has good trade links with West Africa, Scandinavia, Libya and Singapore, yet is firmly rooted in this area through sponsorship of a boy’s football team and a ladies hockey team.
There are very few sectors Apex does not service, from oil and gas, through transport, engineering, marine, hygiene and aerospace to agriculture, catering and shipping.
High up the Apex To Do list is the website, but only once Steve and his team are happy with all the products and their branding.
“We don’t over promise and under deliver,” he said.
But come the summer he hopes the complete upgrade facilities, product range, branding and rebuilding will be complete and Apex will be ready for the next 27 years – and more.