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Demand sees Lesters make £2.5m investment
Staffordshire-based packaging manufacturer Lesters is making a new £2.5m investment, as it looks to maximise a boom in online shopping and a move towards greater sustainability.
The company has seen sales rocket by 120% to £16m this financial year and is looking to build on this growth by acquiring a new casemaker machine to help reduce lead times and increase capacity at its headquarters in Burntwood.
This latest investment gives the company the capability to run 250 boxes per minute on the new machine as opposed to its current level of 120 on the previous one, not to mention increasing product quality and automating many of the previously manual processes.
Billy Hutchinson, managing director at Lesters, (pictured below) said: “2021 was a transformational year for our business, with the new brand identity and our expansion reinforcing our decision to reposition the firm as the large packaging specialists. Covid-19 threw many challenges at us, but it also prompted an unprecedented surge in online shopping and people taking up cycling – two market opportunities that require bespoke packaging and contributed to us achieving our best-ever year.
“We’ve recruited an additional 15 staff taking us up to a headcount of 60. Alongside that we wanted to ensure the huge gains we made in technology were built on and this has seen us agree to buy a second TCY casemaker machine and introduce the widespread use of just-in-time manufacturing techniques commonly used in the automotive sector.
“Add all of this together and it means we are the very top of our industry when it comes to performance and supplying corrugated boxes, large format, heavy-duty cases and bespoke packaging to clients in the automotive, aerospace, bike manufacturing, mail order and third-party logistics space.”
Lesters, which has become a certified CarbonNeutral® company, is exploring a way of creating its own eco-system where it has full control over the whole of the packaging production process, from print ink and design, right through to distribution through Lesters Logistics in Nuneaton. This was the first acquisition by the current management team, with plans in place to look at other complementary businesses that give it greater market share, access to new customers and wider geographic reach.
The introduction of the plastic packaging tax in April is going to have a huge effect on the market and offers another major opportunity for the firm.
Several large companies have already started to grasp the impact of this and Lesters technical team is helping them towards ensuring they have access to corrugated cardboard solutions that are 100% recyclable.
Billy concluded: “Sustainability is going to be an increasingly powerful purchasing decision and we’re in an excellent position to design cardboard packaging solutions that cuts out the plastic altogether, whilst still delivering the same performance at competitive rates.
“Creativity is one of our big strengths. As the large packaging specialists, we can make boxes for all sorts of things. For instance, we’ve been asked by film companies to box cars, we’ve been contacted by football teams wanting to box players to surprise fans, and we often supply schools with anything from telephone boxes to pirate ships!”