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Efficient, automated loading systems for the logistics industry

Joloda International

Eureka moment

The story goes that Joloda’s founder, George Bernard Johnstone, came up with the idea for the company when he was in a cavern on a German mountainside in the late 50s.

During World War II, the facility had been used to manufacture V-2 bombs, which had been moved around on a manual skate.

“Johnstone Loading or Joloda was born,” says Michele Dematteis, chief executive of the Merseyside-based business.

An expert in the 'skate and track' system, Joloda also offers specialist technology for loading pallets and air cargo, and invests in automation to improve efficiency.

Industry support

After an introduction by BGF, Mike Molesworth, ex-CEO of refuse truck manufacturer Dennis Eagle, was appointed non-executive chair.

BGF Talent Network  

The future is automatic

Specialists in the ‘skate and track’ loading system, Joloda was founded in 1962, bringing the technology to the UK for the first time. Many years later, in 2003, the company added further specialist pallet and air cargo loading systems to the offering through the acquisition of a competitor, Hydraroll. Michele, along with two business partners, Wouter Satjin and Alec McAndrew, completed a management buyout of the company in 2017. They saw plenty of opportunity to expand the business.

“There are a number of reasons the company is doing quite well,” says Michele. “Firstly, we’re closely linked to the air cargo industry – loading and unloading air cargo transporters – and this is growing quickly thanks to e-commerce as more and more parcels are being flown around the world in record time. The second thing is the link to ‘Industry 4.0’, the fourth industrial revolution, or automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes.”

Sophisticated warehouse systems are being created across the world where cargo and pallets are unloaded without human touch. It can take an automated Joloda system six minutes to unload a trailer that would take 40 minutes to unload with a forklift truck.

BGF's investment has helped Joloda to...

Expand internationally in the US, Japan and mainland Europe.

Invest in research and development for its sites in North Wales, North Carolina and the Netherlands.

Build a customer base spanning the food production, e-commerce, logistics and manufacturing sectors.

The time was right

Spotting opportunities for further growth, the newly formed management team approached BGF to talk about funding.

“The previous owner was still a shareholder and we were looking to buy him out,” says Michele. “We had also identified a number of acquisitions that we were keen to explore.”

Following an initial meeting with BGF’s Neil Inskip, both sides decided the time was right and BGF invested £7.5 million to support the growth of the business. The deal also saw Joloda appoint Mike Molesworth, former chief executive of refuse truck manufacturing giant Dennis Eagle, as non-executive chair.

As well as offering advice and experience, what we really appreciate is that Mike actually listens to us. Mike, and BGF in fact, have been great at listening to what we plan to do and supporting on that rather than telling us how it is. That means a lot.

 

Michele Dematteis, chief executive of Joloda International

£7.5m

Invested by BGF to support the growth of the business.

Listening, not telling

“Mike’s great, he’s been there and done it and he’s got a lot to offer us,” says Michele. “As well as offering his advice and experience, what we really appreciate is that he actually listens to us. Mike, and BGF in fact, have been great at listening to what we plan to do and supporting on that rather than telling us how it is. That means a lot.”

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