MAS supports drinks manufacturers

Posted on 13 Feb 2015 by The Manufacturer

Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has advised Willis Publicity and other Kent companies on how best to achieve a range of manufacturing goals.

A leading supplier of branded POS bar accessories in the UK, Willis Publicity with Diamond Printed Products has been trading for over 40 years.

In 2006 the firm began reshoring its manufacture from China. But the company’s success came with negatives as well, their UK suppliers often could not meet their seasonal production demand at short notice.

In 2012, with a healthy order book, Willis Publicity took the decision to go it alone and be in total control by venturing into manufacturing themselves.

It located a unit in Mereworth, Kent and invested in the machinery to begin to produce jugs, trays, and ice buckets for their brewery, spirit, wine, cider and soft drinks clients.

In 2013 another Kent company advised them to contact their own Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) business growth manager, Ian Pateman. It’s new injection moulding facility at Mereworth began manufacturing that year and MAS supported them to pass a Tesco buying approval procedure and provided funding for it to meet its ISO 9001 accreditation.

As a result, 17 jobs have been created, with plans in place to invest in new machines in 2015. It’s expected this will increase to 19 jobs with nine being full time. Already the new facility represents £1m of the company’s £5m turnover.

Richard Ellis, MD, Willis Publicity
Richard Ellis, MD, Willis Publicity.

Richard Ellis, MD explained: “Our business needed the flexibility of a UK base but outsourcing to other manufacturers at home seemed not to be the answer for us as we didn’t have control over the flexibility of supply.

“We took the decision to invest in UK production two years ago. The support MAS gave us has been invaluable to us in passing stringent quality standards and other requirements. In addition to the Kent base, we have opened another manufacturing site in Staffordshire to produce other POS items such as displays and a print specialist site. MAS supported us with this development too. An additional eight jobs have been created which brings our total workforce to 30..”

Ian Pateman, MAS business growth manager said: “It’s fantastic to see such high quality products being made in the UK again and MAS has been able to support the return and continued growth of this thriving business.”