Mercian Labels has moved its operation near Derby 35 miles along the road to its larger Burntwood site, bringing all the equipment and almost all the people to the larger and newer factory.
Managing director Dr Adrian Steele says the move will bring savings through improved efficiencies, better communication and and simplified IT structures. “We are already seeing advantages throughout the business,” he says.
At the same time Mercian has added a rotary screen unit to its digital converting area “and have seen quite a lot of interest and demand for embellishment,” Steele says. “What used to be classed as a premium finish is increasingly a mainstream requirement used for longer runs and for multiple different Skus.”
The now-closed Derby site was originally a 400m2 factory for AC Labels, which Mercian acquired in 2011. While the site was increased to 560m2, Mercian moved its Cannock operation into the 2,300m2 Burntwood factory at the end of 2014. Now it will have digital printing and flexo printing in one location, and transportation of materials and part finished work between plants 35 miles apart has ceased.
“We are getting an increasing amount of work that crosses between flexo and digital and the two processes have come closer and closer to each other. It made sense to bring them under one roof. It is another step to becoming a world class manufacturer of labels. This is alarmed a full BRC AA grade factory
“There isn’t much we can’t do now and with a robust NPD strategy coupled with some exciting R&D, we will continue to push the boundaries of specialised embellishments so that our customers enjoy the finest labelling available. Manufacturing of flexible packaging in short and medium runs is now also possible, with very exciting developments on the horizon.”
He explains that only a couple of people, living on the far side of Derby elected not to make the move. The company will now be looking at its next investments, looking at both digital and short run flexo printing, says Steele. as opportunities in flexible packaging open up through mid web printing to handle shorter runs using UV flexo where digital remains limited. “Digital is still a lot slower and a lot more expensive,” he explains. “We are certainly not abandoning flexo.”