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Growth leads to £4.5m investment for packaging manufacturer
Demand for transporting goods around the country and a boom in home shopping has seen S Lester Packing Materials report a 150% increase in sales during the pandemic.
The company, which employs 45 people at its two sites in Staffordshire and Nuneaton, has used its expertise in corrugated boxes, large format, heavy-duty cases and bespoke packaging to help clients in the automotive, aerospace, bike manufacturing, mail order and third-party logistics space.
It is now planning to build on this successful period, and a £4.5m investment in infrastructure and new technology, by repositioning itself for the future with the business now known simply as Lesters.
A new corporate identity and brand strategy will reflect its reputation as the large packaging specialist, a move away from simply ‘big boxes’.
Billy Hutchinson, director of Lesters, said: “We’ve been in business for nearly 40 years, and during that time we’ve never stood still. However, the last 2 years has seen us really push forward with our growth plans, investing heavily in our site, technology, and people to create improved capability, capacity, and efficiency.
“All of these changes mean we are now seen as a trusted supplier and an alternative for larger customers in a world where size and capability really matters. The name and brand change reflect this and brings our innovative design and prototyping facilities to the fore. We don’t just sell boxes…we offer complete, bespoke packaging solutions and are helping to disrupt a marketplace that traditionally has been dominated by two or three big players.”
During the last 18 months, an additional 15 staff have been taken on across production and admin/support, whilst a second shift has also been introduced to keep up with demand. This has helped to support the design and manufacture of a growing range of products, including octabins, pallet boxes, heavy duty packaging, bespoke die cut units, corrugated cartons and retail ready packaging.
A key driver in recent growth has been the decision to invest £3m in a new TCY jumbo casemaker, the first of its type to be operational in the UK. Since coming online, the company says the technology has significantly increased both the quality and efficiency of its large format and heavy-duty case work.
Scott Hutchinson, operations manager, added: “The ability to create a clear group structure, with common goals across the businesses, is essential as we continue to grow. However, it was also important to make sure we don’t lose the essence of what has made us successful, so we’ve made sure that we’ve carried through all the best parts of what we do into the new brand – and we never forget that the customer is at the heart of it all.”
Lesters, which recently purchased a transport and warehousing company to fit within the group, now plans to invest further in an additional casemaker line. There are also plans to make additional acquisitions further up the packaging supply chain to increase the number of sites and capacity it offers.