A 120% surge in sales and the completion of a £7m investment drive has helped a Staffordshire large packaging specialist land one of the sector’s biggest awards.
Lesters, which has also increased its workforce by 30% in the last 12 months, was named as the Entrepreneurial Business of the Year at the UK Packaging Awards, beating off competition from six other high-class finalists in the process.
A team of 10 staff collected the accolade in front of 570 people at the Grosvenor Hotel in London and immediately signalled their intention to use the success to lay the foundations for another year of expansion, with continuing investment in both the packaging and logistics arms of the business.
Billy Hutchinson, Managing Director of Lesters, commented: “Our mantra is to disrupt the sector by offering more innovation, the very best customer service and access to an ecosystem that works with clients, from scoping what their boxes look like to manufacturing them and then arranging the transport solution.
“It is an approach that is working on the ground and this award means that our peers are also appreciating what we are doing. The standard of the finalists was something else, so to come out on top is a massive honour for everyone connected with the business.”
He continued: “Our team has worked so hard to continue to provide essential packaging during the pandemic and have really embraced our vision for growth, going above and beyond. This award is for them!”
UK Packaging Awards – (l-r) Phil Chadwick (Packaging News), Billy Hutchinson, Steve Trow and Reiss Newport (all Lesters) with host Sally Phillips
Lesters provides millions of corrugated boxes, large format packaging and heavy-duty cases 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 in the last financial year and this seen it take on new staff to take its skilled workforce to 60 people.
The growth has been driven by the entrepreneurial mind of MD Billy Hutchinson, a £7m funding programme and the appointment of high-profile industry specialists, including a new Head of Sales, a Design Manager and an experienced Key Account Manager.
This 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 purchases have reduced lead times and increased capacity from a combined 180 boxes per minute to over 360 – essential if the company is going to meet planned expansion targets.
Billy concluded: “A strategic expansion plan – focused on investment in technology, people and complementary acquisitions – will see us move towards a £25m turnover by 2024 and this will hopefully create 30 new jobs.
“Aligning state-of-the-art design and manufacturing capabilities with the group’s in-house warehousing and logistics operations, will provide a seamless solution for a growing client book.
“We also have an action plan in place to offer new and existing customers the opportunity to find alternative packaging solutions and, importantly, become a more sustainable business in the process.”
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