Innova Solutions – How to succeed through two financial crises ⋆ Business Lancashire

After adapting and surviving two financial crises, makers of high-strength tapes and durable adhesives, Innova Solutions, turned 20 years old. The Lancashire-based business, founded by Glenn Dunleavey and Spencer Kelly, marks two decades in business by setting an ambitious target to become a £10million turnover operation over the next five years and to launch a new flame retardant tape, as part of their incredibly successful NovaBond range, revolutionizing fire safety in signage, construction and transportation.

Founded in 2002, Innova Solutions began life as a small team of just three people sharing space with another company: over two decades it has grown into a 30,000+ square foot organization employing 30 people, selling in the UK, EMEA and US markets, and they are about to launch perhaps one of their most revolutionary products to date: a flame retardant, high resistance.

Their journey from a small local startup to a global exporter with a range spanning high strength adhesive tapes, structural adhesives, high performance photoluminescent materials and anti-slip coatings and now flame retardant adhesive tapes has not been an easy path. . Throughout its 20-year history, Innova Solutions has faced many challenges but thrived in tough economic times. From surviving the financial crash of 2008 and the subsequent economic downturn to the lingering uncertainty caused by Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and, more recently, the lingering cost of living and inflation crisis”. Innova Solutions’ agile management structure has enabled rapid decision-making and, with repeated and courageous early investments, continues to help the company achieve sustained growth, adapting to changing business landscapes. and economic.

“We learned early on that we had to make quick and courageous decisions to survive. Following the 2008/9 financial crisis, we reduced our workforce by 20% and diversified into new markets to counter the decline in order frequency and value we were seeing with our existing customer base. For three years we stagnated – in hindsight a remarkable achievement – but when we emerged from the recession in 2011, the growth of our existing and new markets was a double whammy, generating annual growth of more than 30 % and 42% over the two successive years”said Dunleavey.

It was this early navigation through the crisis and the resulting success that enabled Innova Solutions to begin making serious investments. After three very successful years, during which they doubled their turnover, they invested over £100,000 in SAP, a business platform that Dunleavey now credits with transforming their business operations and customer relationships. : “It was difficult, but our team immersed themselves in the implementation and we quickly got clear feedback.”

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union in the June 2016 Brexit referendum marked the start of another turbulent period: as Innova expanded into international markets, trading both in dollars and Euros on a large scale, there has been severe pressure on their import/export trade margins, and the repercussions of this will be felt for years to come. The biggest game changer, however, came soon after in 2020: a global pandemic; a centennial event. For the most part a time of consolidation, not investment, but Innova Solutions was fortunate enough to be able to diversify quickly, entering new markets to make up for the damage done when the world had to close up shop and stay home. “We have been fortunate to have a reputable clientele, and although we have not lost any clients, the volume and frequency of orders has dropped significantly. We had already made inroads into the plastic extrusion market, and we knew that to enter this volume-consuming sector in a meaningful way, we needed to invest in our own converting machinery.

At the height of the pandemic, Innova Solutions invested over £250,000 in a new slitter and rewinder, a 12-head winder and 10,000 square foot premises in which to house the new equipment. “It was a calculated risk, but one that we were able to take quickly. Once again fortune has favored the brave and we are already at full capacity on equipment with plans to invest more to meet demand,” adds Dunleavey.

Between increasing their physical space, transforming operating systems, and machines to break into new markets, you might think it would be hard to pinpoint the single investment that has propelled the company over the past twenty years. , but for Glenn Dunleavey, it’s simple: “The best investment we have made is building the excellent team we have around us. We have continuously injected young people into the business, to maintain energy and proactive levels, and introduced a skilled work in production in operation – a left-wing movement for us, but built on word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted employees.

Looking back over two decades in business and planning for future growth, Dunleavey is thoughtful yet honest and ambitious. “It seems like yesterday that we started this business. But when we break it down to the many game-changing events we encountered, the time frame is pronounced. I’m confident that our success has been professionally managed, but it’s our ability to make quick decisions and take calculated risks, with the flexibility of the whole company to respond, that has allowed us to overcoming challenges and turning them into opportunities for growth.

Looking ahead, Dunleavey and the Innova Solutions Board of Directors are looking forward to it, hoping to build even more partnerships and help many more customers over the next 20 years and beyond. “We don’t hang around. We are currently preparing to launch a new flagship product, which will transform fire safety in a number of industries including construction, engineering and commercial travel. Our flame retardant tape is here: it will officially hit the market in early 2023, but it has already been developed, tested and perfected.

“We are forever grateful to our loyal customers and supply partners who support us. We have established long-term trusted partnerships and a reputation for reliability, earned by successfully navigating rough waters over the past 20 years. Here are the next 20!