Adare SEC put its new Bluecrest Epic inserting lines through their paces on 4 million copies of the Prime Minister’s letter to UK households at the start of lockdown.
The three lines bring the capability of the Huddersfield factory up to 1.5 million packs for mailing a day and underline a commitment to growing the business. As well as the new Bluecrest (formerly Pitney Bowes) machines, the company has installed six Neopost folder inserters across the Huddersfield and Nottingham factories, increasing scope for higher volume mailings and smaller more varied packs.
The government message was processed before the £3 million round of installations was complete with testing and training. That continued throughout April. Now, says chief operating officer Tom Prestwich, the investment, which began in January, is starting to pay off.
“The increased efficiency of our machinery has already reduced our environmental impact by cutting waste and increasing energy efficiency, all of which will contribute to a prompt payback period and benefit the service we can provide to our customers,” he says.
The new inserters replace older units, intended not to increase capacity, but to increase efficiency. It means that Bluecrest is now the dominant supplier of high volume inserting equipment. Ease of use and set up is improved as is its operating speed, leading to an increase in capacity if required.
“By combining first rate equipment with enhanced technology capabilities, we are able to reduce our reliance on manual intervention and increase process automation. Benchmark data has already demonstrated that we are reporting best-in-class machine efficiencies.”
Spoilage rates are lower with the new machines and operating rates higher. The installation has been accompanied by a change in factory layout to make the most of the extra capacity through optimisation of production flow and systems.
The company has also taken the opportunity to mirror the set ups at Huddersfield and Nottingham, part of a longer term process to run the two operations under the same management system, which will allow it to use data flows and analysis to improve production efficiency.
More will follow. “We are also making further investments in the coming months as we continue to develop our digital capabilities,” says CEO Rachael Nevins.
The company shut itself off from the world during the lockdown period, implementing safety controls and procedures and is now “in a position to start welcoming clients and suppliers safely back to our sites” she says in a letter to customers. “We have also introduced further safety guidance and equipment so our teams can visit you when you feel it is appropriate.”
The investment follows a strong performance in the 2019 financial year with revenues rising to £71.4 million (£69.7 million) and a 52% increase in Ebitda to £5.4 million.