The Manufacturer Top 100 2017

We’re delighted to announce that our founder, Dr Mike Kalli and Managing Director, Phillip Kalli have both been named in The Manufacturer Top 100 2017 report!

The Top 100 recognises the UK’s most inspiring and influential individuals working in manufacturing.

Mike has been highlighted as one of the top 20 exemplars in British manufacturing for his inspiring leadership whilst Phillip was also chosen as one of this year’s ‘drivers of cultural change’ and a ‘young pioneer’.

On the evening of Wednesday 15th November, members of The Manufacturer Top 100 2017 and the wider manufacturing community joined industry leaders at Exhibition Centre Liverpool to celebrate the launch of this year’s report.

You can download the full report here.

The Manufacturer Top 100 project, aims to dispel the myths surrounding manufacturing and create a platform to champion and publicly identify dynamic leaders and innovators in the sector.

This year’s Top 100 comprises incredible candidates hailing from all over the country, from a range of sectors and occupy varying roles in manufacturing.

Individuals were nominated by readers of The Manufacturer, the wider industrial community and the public for their contributions in changing the image of industry; finding new markets; demonstrating bold leadership; alongside those young, bright pioneers that are making an impact disproportionate to their years.

The final list was decided by an expert panel of judges, representing UK manufacturing, academia and the wider industrial community. You can see the list of judges here.

Nick Hussey, CEO, Hennik Group – publishers of The Manufacturer, said: “Projects like The Manufacturer Top 100 play an absolutely vital role, serving to demonstrate the reality of what the highly diverse, well-paid careers available in industry actually look like.”

“I am delighted and honoured to have come to know personally many of those named as one of The Manufacturer Top 100 to date. Their stories are ones of inspiration, determination, passion and achievement.”

Find out more at

Here are the profiles as they feature in the 2017 report:


MIKE KALLI Founder & Managing Director, Ideal Manufacturing

Dr Mike Kalli is the man behind the disruption which hit the traditional commercial laundry detergent industry in the early 1980s. Working as a chief chemist for a reputable UK chemical company, he was tasked with formulating a new laundry product for the British restaurant, food manufacturer and hotel conglomerate, J Lyons Group.

He may not have had much experience in the field of laundry detergents at the time, but Kalli’s initial foray delivered unexpectedly superior results. In the face of an immediate order for four tonnes of product, the young chemist’s success was shelved by his then managing director, who was unwilling to take on ‘the big soapers’ of the time, Kalli recalls.

A short while later with the aid of his father-in-law manning the office, a new company was formed. “We already had our first product – the first fully-built, commercial detergent, and I used the knowledge I’d gleaned from my years as a chemist to swiftly create several more. In no time at all, we were creating some pretty big waves in the laundry and textile care sector.”

The rest as they say, is history. The family-run laundry, cleaning and hygiene chemical company, Ideal Manufacturing, has been formulating and manufacturing innovative, bespoke chemical solutions ever since.

Ideal then went on to introduce automated injection systems to the commercial laundry industry thereby enabling greater consistency of quality and saving on labour utilisation, and it continues to research, test and evaluate new approaches to saving water, energy and time.

A specialist in the creation of high performance cleaning and sanitation products, everything is manufactured at Ideal’s specialist facility in Northamptonshire, including testing and delivery.

Under Kalli’s watchful eye, the business has developed to the extent that it is now exporting across Europe and increasingly much further afield.

There is no greater focus for the business though, than sustainability. Every one of Ideal’s workforce believes in a responsible approach to product development, manufacture and supply, through intelligent formulation, reduced energy consumption, alternative packaging materials and recycling.

“It hasn’t always been easy,” Kalli notes. “The biggest challenge I’ve faced, and continue to face, is running an independent business as efficiently, sustainably and profitably as I can – alongside raising a family.”

There is such a myriad of things you have to be aware of, he adds, particularly as a manufacturer and one heavily involved in chemicals, as Ideal is. Lending an able assisting hand is Kalli’s son Phillip, who joined the business in 2008 as marketing manager and is now joint managing director.

“I’ve also been very fortunate to have been supported by David Goodger (now the technical director), who joined Ideal very soon after I founded the company and has been by my side ever since. It’s absolutely humbling to be highlighted as an exemplar within UK manufacturing, it’s a privilege I take very seriously.”

Having a fab time in Liverpool.

PHILLIP KALLI, Managing Director, Ideal Manufacturing

Phillip Kalli’s father, Dr Mike Kalli, disrupted the traditional commercial laundry industry as a young chemist in the 1970s. Taking it further, he made the brave decision to manufacture himself, going up against the ‘big soapers’. He wanted to ensure consistent supply, quality and flexibility, and was confident he could offer superior performance and service. Kalli joined his father in 2008, arriving with very different skills; an interest in painting, a degree in literature and a background in the music industry. His creativity, sense of fun, passion and drive to make improvements has meant that together, they have chemistry. Focused on developing new ideas, he’s intent on making professional detergent manufacture and supply more accessible, sustainable, transparent and exciting. While not interested in being the biggest, the aim is to make Ideal better, to continue a great British manufacturing story for generations to come.