Trade growth: How Bayliss Metals is meeting its export ambitions

David Bayliss shares his insights on making a profit in a sustainable way, keeping suppliers happy and learning how to mitigate risk.

Trade insights from David Bayliss

They work with large mills, steel producers and metal processors and purchase scrap metal from individuals all the way through to large waste companies and demolition firms.

Here are some of the things he’s learned about trade in the UK and internationally including export, getting paid, funding working capital and gaining a competitive edge:


Good relationships can make good businesses

Ours is a true family business, with my two brothers, our wives and sometimes even our children working here on Saturdays. It’s not always easy but if you leave any problems at work, it works. That mentality of being able to lean on people and offer support influences the way we manage the company, our 40 employees, and relationships throughout the business.


Strategy can start with managing supplier relationships

We care about our suppliers, and that’s where our strategy starts. Most are in South and South-West Wales and they bring us the product that we then sell on. If we get the product right, with good quality scrap metal, the customer strategy takes care of itself. We have well-trained staff and 30 years of experience that's been passed down, and that really helps with our growth strategy.


A reputation for being honest and fair can benefit your trade cycle

Prompt payment is common practice in the scrap metal industry. Some payments are made immediately if people are coming into the yard, and invoices are generally seven days. We pride ourselves on being honest and fair, and making sure our suppliers get paid on time. If we’re building cargo to ship, it can sometimes be 60 days from the time we bought it until we’re paid, if not longer. Our history of paying when we say is crucial, it gives us some advantage.


An export strategy could help you expand your market

A big part of our future strategy is export because it gives us bigger markets. We do a lot in Spain, Portugal, and Belgium. Our cargos are around the 3,0000-tonne mark, which on average is around £1m in value for each shipment. Recently we've done two ships to Turkey, which is the ‘scrap capital of the world’. It costs us more on freight, but a lot of scrap goes through and for us to get that opportunity is great.


Ensure you maintain working capital within your business

Managing working capital is a challenge and must be tightly managed, especially when prompt payment is so important for relationships. We've got a good invoice financing facility that has helped us achieve our goals over the last six years. More recently a revolving trade loan facility has helped us in an up and down world where there's been a delay in shipments and our stock has been sitting for longer.


Don’t be afraid to ask questions about finance

We’ve learned it helps to keep good lines of communication open. For example, there are certain regions that operate differently and sometimes we can get insurance, sometimes we can't. Some transactions will be better suited to using our trade loan facility, invoice finance or both. It’s important to continue to learn, and the best way of doing that is to ask the questions. Generally, people want to help or support.

Andy Young, Trade Finance Director - Working Capital Sales for the bank, says: “Working with a family business such as Bayliss Metals is a privilege. We understand the importance and challenges of international trade, and we make it our mission to help businesses grow globally with ease. We’re delighted to support the business expand upon its already strong growth internationally.”


Celebrate your achievements

We’re proud of our growth and expansion from where my father started on his own to where we are now. We’re independent, so we see our turnover touching £40m as phenomenal. Getting out into that export market is a good step for us. It wasn’t always easy and isn't always going to be easy, but it's going to help us expand. We’re looking to get another site - we’ve got three currently. Processing the scrap includes grabbing, cleaning, crushing, and cutting it, and we believe we can continue to grow by continuing to be good at that.


Embrace a positive mindset around being carbon neutral

Our industry has been positive in recycling for what feels like forever. We reuse the metal and want to make that as efficient a process as we can. Businesses are transitioning towards net zero and we’re no different in this industry. We’re already a great advert for recycling, we take in what people don't want and put it back out there. In the last couple of years we've moved to electric shears so we're not so reliant on diesel. From a financial point of view as well as net zero, we want to be cleaner and technologies to help us do that are evolving all the time. I’m hearing that some other scrap metal dealers are taking on plastic to recycle. I think it can’t happen enough!

For more specialist insights and solutions that could help you achieve your growth ambitions, visit our Trade Hub.

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