Lesters has announced it has invested £100,000 into the opening of a second warehouse to help it cope with a 120% increase in orders.
The large packaging specialist, which has recently recruited 15 new staff, has fitted out the 25,000 sq ft facility near its headquarters in Burntwood with flexible racking options meaning it has enough space to store over 2000 pallets.
This latest move, coupled with its existing Lesters Logistics facilities, means the company can now offer 47,000 sq ft of storage space, 20,000 sq ft of floor storage space and 3,000 pallet spaces.
It will help the firm bring its storage of its stocked items in-house, reducing lead times and ensuring even better customer service for clients in the aerospace, automotive, pharma, renewables and online shopping sectors. A new Warehouse Manager has already been appointed to oversee the additional operation.
“We have a three-year expansion plan that will see the business move to £25m of annual sales and getting more of our stock under our control is an important step in making that happen,” explained Billy Hutchinson, Managing Director of Lesters.
“It was previously outsourced and that didn’t give us the flexibility we needed, especially with more customers coming online by the day. Taking on Unit 12, a stone’s throw from our current factory, gives us a lot more space for our stocked items, as we are increasing our ability to offer more ‘stock and serve’ options to clients.
“Supply chain challenges are a big talking point for our customers. Recent events and uncertainty have created a need for many UK businesses to increase their security of supply for the critical packaging lines they require. This will help us provide the security they are looking for.”
The last twelve months have been transformational for Lesters, the UK’s leading specialist in big box packaging for the aerospace, automotive, bike manufacturing, mail order and third-party logistics space.
Boosted by a significant surge in online shopping, the Burntwood-based company has seen sales soar to £16m and its workforce increase to 60 people.
The growth has been driven by investment in skills and, importantly, a £7m investment programme that has resulted in the installation of a new TCY Jumbo Casemaker (first of its type to be operational in the UK) and the impending arrival of a TCY N6 3 colour casemaker machine.
These acquisitions have helped the company reduce lead times and increase capacity from a combined 180 boxes per minute to over 360 - essential if it is going to meet planned expansion targets.
“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,” added Billy.
“We are exploring a way of creating our own eco-system where we have full control over the whole of the packaging production process, from print ink and design, right through to distribution through Lesters Logistics in Nuneaton.
“That was our first acquisition by the current management team, with plans in place to look at other complementary businesses that give us greater market share, access to new customers and wider geographic reach.”
Another big opportunity for Lesters has been the introduction of the plastic packaging tax on April 1st.
This means manufacturers or importers of plastic packaging could be hit by a £200 tax for every per metric tonne of plastic packaging, a great incentive for them to explore alternative forms of packaging, including cardboard boxes.
Billy concluded: “We have an action plan in place to offer new and existing clients the opportunity to find alternative solutions and, importantly, become a more sustainable business in the process.”