Updated: Sep 2, 2021
It’s been 40 years since two innovative individuals ventured off and started a packaging business that would grow from a small Trowbridge warehouse, to the award winning IMP that we now know. Beginning in 1981, Andrew Simpson and Tony Hewittt, both originating from a local packaging company, decided to start their own organisation and rented a modest unit in Meadows Works, Trowbridge.
Image of the first IMP unit in Meadows Works
Image of the second IMP unit in Meadows Works
With only a handful of employees and a phenomenal demand for their products and services, founders Andrew and Tony quickly realised that they were outgrowing their unit and moved to a larger premises across the street. Soon after the move, Neil Parrish and Michael Bowerman were appointed as factory operatives and the business continued to boom.
A youthful Neil Parrish (1983) and Michael Bowerman (1984) at the IMP warehouse
In April 1990, one of the original founders Tony, decided to pursue another business opportunity and left the company to flourish under the direction of his trusted partner Andrew. After experiencing yet another growth in the demand for packaging products, Andrew found that there was insufficient space to expand and set upon finding a larger purpose built factory in White Horse Business Park on the outskirts of Trowbridge.
The purpose built IMP warehouse in 1993
So in September of 1993, alongside a team of original and dedicated staff members, he began to embark on larger operational activities. Andrew built two large extensions to the factory in the years to follow, which would set IMP in its path to success and grow into the organisation we know today.
With technological advancements and the loyalty and wealth of experience of staff, IMP revolutionised the world of packaging and supported hundreds of companies with secure and reliable handling of their goods.
In April 2003, IMP became the first UK packaging company to invest in the Dassault System, Catia V5. This 3D design software enabled IMP to better understand customers’ design needs and offer bespoke protective designs that were more accurate, improved product and component protection, and allowed for much more efficient handling. The software allowed for design concept proposals, production drawings, and CNC tooling that were all produced, generated directly from the 3D model. With Catia V5 on board, IMP gained a huge edge over its competitors.
On March 18th 2005, following the retirement of Andrew Simpson, three of the senior managers, Michael Bowerman, Neil Parrish and Neville Mullings undertook an MBO, and became directors. The three directors continued the company's growth until April 2008 when Neville left to explore pastures new, leaving IMP’s journey in the hands of Neil and Mike. With the experience of Neil and Mike, IMP were in a fortunate position to operate from two sites in Wiltshire benefiting the company’s reach and success.
Neil Parrish, one of the directors at IMP shares his thoughts on the company’s journey by saying:
“I have been working at IMP for 38 years, and a Director for fifteen, as you can imagine I have seen many changes over the years. Many of these changes have been wonderful and whilst some have been challenging, as a business we have always focused on pushing IMP forward. This has been possible due to the dedication of our staff, advancements in technology, enthusiastic sales and marketing teams and of course the loyalty of our customers, some which have been with IMP for nearly 30 years”.
Neil then goes on to reflect on the impact of Covid-19 and the effects it had on the business by stating:
“The last twelve months have been some of the most challenging times for IMP and myself, yet we felt it was important to keep pushing IMP forward and invest in the future, with this in mind we have filled various positions, from internal sales, external customer support and a full social media presence. I can honestly say I feel this has proven the resilience of the company and staff members which have made IMP stronger than ever. I would also like to thank all past and present customers for their loyalty over the years, it's been a challenge, but without them and our dedicated staff who have gone the extra mile and some, it would not have been possible”.
IMP 2020 company rebranding
Mike Bowerman, director at IMP, adds to Neils thoughts and shares the following:
“As we celebrate our 40th anniversary I reflect back to my 16 year old self, some 37 years ago, when I knocked on the door of a little company called IMP to begin my first day of work. So much has changed since those early days when I started as a machine operator (including lots of grey hair) but I look back with pride at the achievements myself and Neil have made, both as employees and then directors. We have formed lifelong friendships along the way but we also remember those who we have worked alongside that have sadly passed.
The last twelve months as we navigated the troubled waters of Brexit and then Covid have been the most challenging we have experienced, but as every challenge is an opportunity we have pushed forward with innovating our systems and working practices, updating and enhancing our online presence and social media and supporting our staff and our local community through the desperate times the world is experiencing.
My journey with the company truly has been my life’s work and with the support of our families and the dedication of our friends and colleagues which make IMP the company it is today, I couldn’t have asked for better people to have shared it with.”
With an impressive history and growth rate, IMP has witnessed vast change in and outside the organisation. Their mission however has always remained the same and they continue to be dedicated to the highest quality of customer care. They continue to pride themselves in providing employees with a stable and safe environment, equal opportunities for learning, personal growth, and empowerment. Their experience in innovative packaging makes them one of the leaders in the UK packaging industry.