End of year reflections: Interview with David Frame

End of year reflections: Interview with David Frame


2023 has been another busy and exciting year for Barum & Dewar and with the recent announcement that B&D Group was acquired by Macfarlane Group in October 2023, we end the year with B&D Managing Director, David Frame, reflecting on the journey so far.

For you, what have been some of the key successes over the last 25 years?

25 years is quite a long time and as you can imagine there have been both successes and some failures; in truth, it is the odd failure that provides the valuable lessons for future successes. A key success of note would be an early decision to widen our product offering, adding industry-leading products from globally recognised brands such as Zarges and Peli, enhancing our core design and metal fabrication capabilities. Over the years we have continued to expand the range of OEM cases, diversifying options for customers within our portfolio and adding textiles, timber and corrugate solutions.

In 2010, we set up our own foam factory, bringing in-house and under direct control all foam fabrication, ensuring quality and reducing lead times for all clients. Notable contract wins in both the Defence and Space sectors have helped propel Barum & Dewar forward and become recognised as one of the leading specialist packaging companies in the UK.

The glue to our success has been our ability to attract, develop and retain a dedicated and motivated team – passionate about detail, dedicated to the customer experience and extremely knowledgeable. It is the B&D team that is our biggest success.

B&D has built a strong reputation for its ability to solve complex packaging problems, what’s the biggest challenge you have faced to date?

Challenges are never far from our door, we thrive on them and often take on the projects others shy away from. When we first started to design and supply satellite containers into the Space sector in the late 1990’s we had little experience and everything was new to us- the terminology, specific requirements of this sector and a realisation of the huge responsibility we were taking on to protect a satellite which had taken several years of development and construction, there was no second chance! 25 years on and we are recognised as the go-to company for satellite and space hardware containers not just in the UK but now with an increasing international client base. At around 40 feet in length, our custom-manufactured aluminium periscope containers have been safely storing and transporting periscopes and masts for the UK Navy’s submarine fleet and are some of the largest containers ever produced by B&D – an annual contract to repair and recertify these containers has been awarded to B&D for over 20 years.

Space, Defence and Aerospace are all very technical and complex sectors, what makes B&D so suited to these sectors specifically?

Knowledge and experience of these sectors is key and B&D has immersed itself in working collaboratively with many of the leading companies to gain a deep understanding of how they operate and of their needs and challenges. B&D is an engineering company at heart with a curious and innovative mindset, constantly asking questions and embracing change. We are fanatical about detail and client engagement so work best on a collaborative basis. These sectors are understandably demanding with high expectations but our track record of delivering exceptional results on time and to budget means we have gained the trust of our clients and a reputation for delivering time and time again.

MacFarlane Packaging is highly regarded in the industry, what are you most looking forward to in this next exciting chapter for B&D?

B&D has joined not only one of the UK’s largest packaging suppliers but a company formed in 1949 with core values at its heart that remain just as important today and this aligns perfectly with the B&D ethos. Looking ahead we see challenges and opportunities in equal measure as we look to widen our client network and increase our product and service offerings. With the support of the Macfarlane family of businesses, we will have the opportunity to work together offering enhanced packaging services not just throughout the UK but into Europe and beyond.

B&D has a loyal team, many who have been with the business for a long time. What opportunities will the acquisition give them?

The B&D team is not just loyal and long-standing but ambitious and excited by this recent acquisition. The opportunity to be part of a bigger business brings not only increased security and certainty for the future but also fresh challenges and access to a wider network of experienced colleagues where shared ideas and skills can be developed.

B&D and MacFarlane Packaging share a similar ethos around quality and responsible practices, how else do you feel the businesses align?

Ambition. B&D are joining at a time of growth and expansion across the Macfarlane Group becoming the third acquisition made in 2023. Our businesses share a commitment to customer service and the client experience is what it is all about. The challenge is to bring our combined strengths together to further add to that experience, focusing on the detail and differentiating us from the competition.

How will the acquisition support B&D’s existing clients?

It should provide them with reassurance as not only will they continue to deal with the existing team at B&D but they will have access to a wider range of products and services including regional logistics hubs throughout the UK. In addition, they will recognise the increased financial stability an acquisition of this scale brings and the background support available not only to B&D but to our clients as well.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients and our team for all their work and support in 2023 and I look forward to continued success in 2024.