Ivan Pennington of LEHVOSS UK brings you up to date with the firm’s latest developments
LEHVOSS UK was founded in 1990 and started life trading out of a small office above a motor parts shop in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Initially, the product offering was very narrow and limited to a handful of products aimed at the rubber and industrial lubricants markets. A long road has been walked over the past 26 years, with some great adventures along the way and a few crashes, not to mention some tight hairpin bends and numerous cliff edges navigated. Achievements are all too easily listed and regurgitated, but the fluid strategy culture developed has been and still is the key to the past, present and future of LEHVOSS UK. Diversification has been a consistent theme within the business. Small beginnings built on a limited product range and customer base have given way to today’s diverse business operating across multiple chemical disciplines, which stretch across both industrial and life science applications. LEHVOSS is not a brand on the high street but is the reliable technical partner that provides key chemical ingredients and formulation expertise to many well-known household brands. The name plays a part in many household brands that affect our daily lives: from tyres for the family car to high tech racing slicks for the motorsports industry; highly engineered plastics for aerospace, drones and automotive applications; lipsticks, blusher and moisturising creams, body butters and body wash; from painting faces to anti-corrosive metal protection coatings - there is a link somewhere between the two; hydraulic fluids, engine oils, antifoaming additives, bespoke lubricant packages, our expertise in rheological additives; nutritional additives for all generations, vitamins, herbals, cognitive, joint and bone health actives. The list goes on. The team at LEHVOSS UK is the X factor that drives the business forward. Disciplined customer service, a focused chemically educated sales team and numerous industry experts provide a platform for providing solutions to our customer base. No customer is too small or too demanding. Some are challenging, which is what helps ensure LEHVOSS UK continually improves its service and its offering. Partnership is a word easily used by many but so often misunderstood. Partnership with our employees is as much a focus as the engagement and partnerships we aim to foster with our customers and suppliers alike. Listening to the market and understanding the overtures of internal and external voices is often the difference between success and failure - assumptions have been the death of many a good project or idea! Growth is not always about the annual profit streams, market share or shareholder values. Sustainability for the LEHVOSS Group is much more important than the boom and bust policies that so many companies in all sectors seem to follow. In August 2015, the company took a strategic opportunity to widen its nutritional and chemical life science positioning by acquiring Gee Lawson, who provide both LEHVOSS UK and the wider LEHVOSS group a European brand and footprint. We are investing in the future of both LEHVOSS and Gee Lawson. During 2016, Gee Lawson has been integrated into the LEHVOSS family, bringing two professional and highly motivated teams together, putting a new group operating system in place, with new opportunities and the inevitable change management challenges. The initial and inevitable teething issues gave us opportunities to find those pockets of good practice that are often talked about but easily overlooked. Development for a sustainable future means investing in the fabric and structure of our foundations. Culture and working environment are very important in any team. After 18 years in the same quaint and traditional office LEHVOSS had outgrown its surroundings and needed a more fitting office arrangement to match the forward thinking and modern working practices employed. In May 2017 LEHVOSS UK moved its headquarters to a bespoke building which, like the LEHVOSS Group, has old foundations – it was built in 1852 - but with a very modern interior, which will provide a welcoming workplace and relaxing environment for employees, allowing more space to develop ideas and formulate tomorrow’s strategic plans. With four times the space of the current office, this provides the sustainable environment for the next 25 years of development. This move was also an opportunity to invest in customer and supplier service. A dedicated formulation laboratory has been created, which will be focused on the Gee Lawson nutritional business, allowing bespoke formulation work to be carried out in support of customers and suppliers alike. The laboratory is expected to open by the end of September. The LEHVOSS Group has extensive laboratory facilities and it endeavours to set up centres of excellence across the group focused on specific industry sectors. The cosmetics centre of excellence is housed within LEHVOSS Italy, whilst many of the industrial application centres of excellence are located at the group’s main technical laboratory complex within a short distance of our parent company, Lehmann&Voss&Co. in Hamburg, Germany. Sustainable, profitable growth, supported by the highest quality standards and a willingness to invest externally and internally, allows LEHVOSS UK to go from strength to strength and ride the waves of uncertainty which, over the past decade, have become the normal business environment.