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From importing to manufacturing, dive into Bonnington Plastics’ growth journey 

Standing as a leading importer of wholesale gardening, home and leisure products, Bonnington Plastics Ltd (Bonningtons) is a Nottingham, UK-based enterprise. Bonningtons’ product portfolio covers many categories, including gardening tools and garden accessories, outdoor furniture and barbecues, camping, garden lighting, wild bird and pet care, pest control, and disposable catering and homeware. Since its inception in 1967, the company has been the supplier of choice for garden centers, high street multiples, wholesalers, independents, and large internet retailers. Today, Bonningtons continues to be one of the UK’s fastest growing companies, providing the trade with competitively priced, great selling products directly from its Nottinghamshire factories and warehouse. Sergio Tartaglia, Sales Director, talks us through the company’s journey. 

“Upon its establishment 57 years ago, Bonningtons originally specialized in manufacturing a diverse range of products. For a few years, we specifically focused on producing hose pipes, but we soon realized we couldn’t compete with imports from China. Consequently, we transitioned away from manufacturing, favoring importing instead. We thrived solely on an imports-based business model, until we made the strategic decision to re-enter manufacturing in 2023. The drive behind this move stemmed from the owners of FlowChemUK (Flow), our current range of chemical products, who proposed selling their range through Bonningtons. Following the acquisition of Flow’s catalog, our operations were relatively slow, and we were filling orders manually. However, thanks to our sales team actively promoting the Flow range to our existing customer base, the business gained momentum within a few months and orders began flowing in. As a result of this success, Bonningtons was determined to diversify its offerings and boost revenue. To that end, we made a sizeable investment by purchasing our first manufacturing machine, at a cost of over £300,000,” he recounts. 

Presently, Bonningtons proposes a diverse product portfolio, comprising both imported and manufactured goods. “Our imports cater to various needs, ranging from homewares, catering, pets and leisure to gardening and watering. Meanwhile, we manufacture all sorts of chemicals for Flow, including screen wash, floor cleaner, bleach, as well as outdoor cleaning products,” he begins. Sergio specifically mentions Flow’s signature Wet and Walk Away formula, as featured in its patio and path cleaner. Formulated to rid garden stones, paths and patios of unwanted stains, this solution boasts a pH neutral formula offering a layer of protection to prevent stains from coming back. “Besides, we distribute some of our own label products to a few major retailers such as The Range, Wilco Motor Spares, Stax Trade Centres, and many others I am unable to mention,” continues Sergio. 

Delving into Bonningtons’ manufacturing capabilities, Sergio discusses the technologies and equipment in place to enhance efficiency. “Bonningtons made a significant investment in a new machine which has tremendously improved our production capacity from 1000 bottles a day to 1000 per hour. Moreover, we complemented that purchase with a new capping machine. At a cost of £100,000, this appliance empowers us to cap 1500 bottles hourly. Additionally, Bonningtons embraced robotics with two machines wrapping pallets automatically, enabling us to save valuable time. To ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the machine, we have hired a full-time engineer to supervise its maintenance. In the future, we are planning on investing in a second production line to run alongside our current one, as well as in another machine to facilitate the manufacture of our AdBlue chemical range,” he adds. 

Before the pandemic hit, Bonningtons had streamlined its imported products portfolio. Sergio explains what led to this decision and the benefits it brought about. “Untenable competition from Amazon was one of the main factors behind our streamlined import offerings. Indeed, it is challenging to compete with such a large company that can deliver products from the other end of the world right to its customers’ doorstep within a few days. Therefore, reducing Bonningtons’ range of imported items to focus on those generating more substantial profits seemed like a wise move. Over the last few years, we have further refined our portfolio, now down to 650 imported products,” he affirms. As a result of this strategic decision, Bonningtons is empowered to redirect more of its resources to its manufacturing operations. 

Large plastic containw of Flow patio & path cleanerBonningtons takes immense pride in the three core values of integrity, quality, and trust which shape its business reputation and ethos. These values were carefully defined after detailed consultation with customers from a multitude of sectors. To uphold integrity, Bonningtons launched an easy to use, mobile friendly website in 2016, making real-time stock and product information readily available to consumers. In addition, the company significantly expanded its sales and support teams. Both teams have been equipped with the most advanced training to provide clients with the top-tier level of customer service they deserve. Furthermore, Bonningtons implemented a rigorous buying process encompassing sourcing, pricing, quality assurance, and delivery to its warehouse. With these systems in place, the company fosters a professional approach across all areas of the business, thereby enhancing employee and customer satisfaction. 

Regarding its core focus on quality, Bonningtons continues to introduce more premium brands with dedicated catalogs. Alongside its original Kingfisher brand, these new offerings aim to challenge leading brands by delivering the best quality on the market. In essence, Bonningtons’ dedication to quality permeates every aspect of its operations, from its products and customer service to sales, marketing and client relationships. Trust, the last of Bonningtons’ core values, underpins the company’s enduring customer connections. Committed to delivering on its promises, Bonningtons has implemented a variety of resources to retain its reliability. For instance, its sales support and customer service teams have been merged to provide a unified and versatile point of contact for sales queries, product information and after-sales care. Likewise, Bonningtons’ internal processes have been bolstered to uphold exclusive quality management and communication standards. By consistently following these core values throughout all facets of business, Bonningtons is empowered to achieve its ambitious growth plans and solidify its position as a trusted supplier for both existing and new clientele. 

With nearly six decades in the manufacturing industry under its belt, Bonningtons has ambitious plans for further growth. “By the end of 2024, we will introduce trigger sprays and additional chemical innovations to expand our Flow range. I believe our possibilities for the future are limitless, especially given our owner’s eagerness to invest more in the company. Within five years, we aspire to manufacture goods for major retailers like Aldi and Halfords, as well as making them available in forecourts and service stations,” ends Sergio. 

Having experienced steady growth importing and manufacturing, Bonningtons is poised for future prosperity through the introduction of new products and expansion of its clientele base whilst upholding quality, integrity and trust.