David Lindfield, Sovex Systems, Prenton

Tell us about your company?

Sovex is one of UK’s leading conveyor manufacturers with over 110 employees. Sovex has a committed, motivated and competent team, which guarantees success by delivering the highest quality, design, manufacturing and installation alongside an unrivalled reputation for customer service. As a result Sovex is recognised across Europe as the foremost provider of equipment and service to the Parcel Handling Industry.  Sovex is continuing its growth by expanding into Europe, office already opened; Austral/Asia, manufacturing unit now open; and it is intended to continue this development by opening up an operation in America.  Sovex has grown from a £300k company to a £13 million company in less than 10 years and is still growing

Where do you want the business to be in two years?

Sovex will establish itself as the leading supplier of Equipment to the Parcel Handling Industry internationally and achieve this by having strategic presence in key areas in the world and will establish a meaningful distributor network to service this. Sovex also intends to grow its service and maintenance department by acquiring new customers in the manufacturing and logistics industries.

What is your background?

I served an indentured apprenticeship with Girling/Lucas and started my career following this as a mechanical designer eventually heading the Factory Planning/Projects operation within Girling. I left to become Production Director with the original Sovex in Nottingham this company was taken over by a Danish company, Caljan, I became Managing Director UK for this company and held the position for 10 years, I then chose to resign and come back to Merseyside, everyone does, and was happy to slow down and maybe undertake some consultancy work, this lasted about 3 months and I eventually was cajoled by old customers to start a small operation refurbishing and selling old Parcel Handling conveyors this led to requests for new equipment and a demand for a comprehensive service department, Sovex now has a 30 man team offering a one hour response in some cases to conveyor break downs. It is worthy of note that our biggest competitor is now Caljan and although much larger and owned by a large American corporation see Sovex as their biggest threat.

If you could suggest something to government which would help your business growth what would it be?

The government and financial institutions should and must support the Manufacturing Industry if the country wants to develop business internationally, we have a history second to none in developing and manufacturing products the core skills are still there and can be developed through investment and training, we give lip service to what can be provided to small growing companies but in fact assistance and support is not forthcoming, many companies like Sovex develop new products, introduce training schemes including apprenticeships, although limited support is given in this area, and expand overseas by using their own resources, the only organisations who have supported Sovex in the last 10 years have been MSIF with much appreciated loans and the Wirral Business Partnership and Invest Wirral which have supported particular projects.

government and financial institutions should and must support the manufacturing industry if the country wants to develop business internationally...

What do you do to relax away from the office?

Not much, no time, walk when I can with my family.

What hobbies (if any) do you have?

Trying hard to get a hobby!  My wife bought me drawing lessons 5 year ago – did not attend, tried golf with my son Michael who is currently working as a PGA qualified Coach in Spain, but I am hopeless – can’t continue doing anything I am not good at, was a reasonable squash player – to old now I’m afraid, will ultimately undertake more adventurous walks further afield.

Have you any hidden talents that we don't know about?

Still looking.... must be something surely?

What one piece of advice would you give an 18 years old David Lindfield starting out today?

Don’t believe it when they tell you success does not rely on effort but expertise, at some time in everyone’s career extreme effort will be required – be prepared also often go with your gut instinct this often is the right one and delays can be costly.

Any final comments?

When the job is not enjoyable - pack it in.

David's thoughts on where he wants the business to be have inspired Sovex to become one of the country's leading businesses, and the recent Wirral Business Award 2013 success for Exporter of the Year only helps emphasise his determination to lead the company forward into larger and further international markets - to find out more about Sovex please visit its website and a further review from thebusinessdesk.com


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