Interview – Nik Williams, Shredall & SDS Document Storage and Scanning

Nik Williams

Nik Williams is group sales director at Shredall & SDS Document Storage and Scanning. Established by Nik’s father Lloyd Williams and a sleeping partner back in 1997, Shredall is now the largest independently owned document-management company in the UK. EMBL visited the company’s premises at Bestwood Village to discuss its meteoric rise.

Hi Nik. Your father set up Shredall 20 years ago. Do you think he could have foreseen how large the company has grown?

Dad was a man with a van and an idea. We now have 70 staff and are forecast to turn over £4.5m next year. We also have another location in Larkhall near Glasgow and offices in Birmingham and London. The business has grown far beyond dad’s expectations. It is also now wholly family owned.

Shredall has grown by 14% in its 20th year. We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.

Tell us a bit about the latest developments at the firm

We recently invested £300,000 in new Vecoplan shredder which is capable of shredding 6 tonnes of paper an hour. That’s on top of what’s already been shredded and brought onto our site.

We now have five scanners that can scan 170 images a minute, and we’ve just established a digital mailroom.

As it’s the company’s 20th anniversary this year, we’ll be hosting a party – a charity fundraiser – for staff, clients and prospects in June.

With the rise of paperless offices, could your business become obsolete in the future?

We’re shredding more paper than ever year on year. It’s impossible to predict the future, but there’s a box on our shelf that needs to be there until 2094, so we’ll be around for a good while yet! The scanning and digitising side of the business is growing fast, and we can host data on the cloud and do file transfers onto other people’s IT systems, so we’re already well on-board with the digital side of things. However, some people don’t trust the cloud, so there’s definitely still demand for traditional data storage. In the end, you have to go where your clients ask you to.

What’s the plan moving forward?

Ten years from now I want to see Shredall surpassing £8m in turnover. We’ll create more jobs, and hopefully move into more new markets.

You’re based in the former colliery village of Bestwood. What are the advantages of this location?

Being based here, as opposed to the city centre, gives us quicker access to the A1 and M1. This is vital for us as our vans and lorries travel to Birmingham, London, Scotland and many other parts of the UK. Our clients do come to see us here, but we actively go out to see them, so in that sense this is the perfect location.

Crucially, there’s also room to expand here in Bestwood. That’s the ultimate plan.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your sector?

Education. Some people don’t understand what they need to do to protect themselves. They don’t understand the consequences of poor data security. In no way do I intend to insult people’s intelligence, but it’s true to say that some businesses and individuals don’t even know this market exists. Our range of clients is so vast it’s difficult to pigeonhole who knows what. As a firm we try to educate people the best we can.