Guy Tullberg talks to Business Matters about his traditional British condiments company Tracklements.
What products or services do you provide?
For 50 years Tracklements has supplied traditional British condiments as well as ground breaking, innovative relishes, chutneys and mustards.
What type of businesses do you work with?
In terms of suppliers we work with British farmers and growers as well as suppliers from around the world. We work very hard on sourcing our ingredients from likeminded businesses who put emphasis on the quality of their products. Our customers cover all sectors of the market from high street delis and butchers to grocery multiples and online retailers as well as our 25 export markets. We have a policy of always going the extra mile for our customers which we believe is just one of the reasons Tracklements has been voted Best Supplier of Pickles and Chutneys by specialist retailers for eleven years on the trot.
What problem does your company solve?
We make every meal, even the most humble, taste delicious.
What is your USP?
Tracklements is the Life & Soul of the pantry, we make the best quality products in the marketplace, we bring character and flavour to tables, we make products which are punchier, livelier and zingier than our competitors and we do it with honesty, integrity and positivity.
What are your company values? Have you ever had them challenged and if so how have you dealt with it?
The easiest way to sum up our values is by saying we believe in Business as a force for good which is why we have recently been awarded B Corp status. Quite simply Tracklements has always behaved as a good citizen to everyone we come into contact with whether that be suppliers, customers, our staff or our community. There are always challenges but this provides us with a measure and a yardstick as to how we behave as a company.
How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?
One of the best pieces of advice we came across was in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, where he recommends getting the right people on the bus and this has stood us in great stead when it comes to our people. We are very lucky that we manufacture on site so the process and therefore the brand values are aligned and transparent to everyone who works here. Everyone sees the quality of the ingredients as they arrive, and we know that our staff are very proud of the products we make. We spend time on a thorough and detailed induction process and have regular catch ups throughout the business to ensure that we’re all pulling in the same direction.
Are you happy to offer a hybrid working model of home/office post-covid?
We are that rare thing: a traditional British manufacturing business which makes it harder to offer a hybrid working model but we always try to be flexible where possible.
Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?
Treating people as we like to be treated ourselves is our approach. We’ve worked with some of our customers and suppliers for decades which we believe is testament to this. We have an annual Best Supplier award where we celebrate suppliers who reflect our values of sustainability, service and product quality.
Any finance or cash-flow tips for new businesses starting out?
Always be realistic. Cash is king. Turnover is vanity but profit is sanity! They may be hackneyed phrases but no less worthwhile for that.
If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?
We’d love to see more support for British Manufacturing.
What is your attitude towards your competitors?
We respect them, we need them, they keep us on our toes and show us our weaknesses and where we can do better! There are a number of great competitors in our market but Tracklements has always strived to be the Best of the Best. We’re relentless in pursuit of that journey. It makes our decisions simple and easy to make and although it occasionally throws up a challenge, we think it’s a much easier space to try to occupy than the middle ground.
Any thoughts on the future of your company and your dreams?
Tracklements has always been gently ambitious which to us means that we grow at a sustainable speed with consideration for the environment, our people and our capabilities. I hope that Tracklements will have as much fun and pleasure from the next fifty years and we’ve had in the past fifty years. The enjoyment of developing a great business and trying to make it better every day is what gets us up in the morning. It is an endless pursuit of improvement.