Peter Scott Printers has completed a £200,000 move into a £1 million factory during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The five mile move across Burnley began on 24 March, the day after the UK’s lockdown was announced, and was complete by 13 April. The company had to split its team into shifts to minimise unnecessary contact and to make it easier to practice social distancing.
Now the company is up and running and is enjoying an unexpected boost in demand. Commercial director Joanne Hindley says: "We expected challenging times, planned to close up shop and then there was a cry for help. We have seen demand for items such as essential signposting for local authorities, social distancing signs for supermarkets, products for food chains and labels for manufacturers, mainly bakeware products as people are spending more time in the kitchen.”
The single level open plan factory is 25% larger than its old premises which was arranged over several levels. It has been an asset for some 15 years, but had been leased to a tenant until recently. It offers the opportunity for the business to operate with greater efficiency, something that will be compounded by adopting lean management techniques.
“We started eight months ago to streamline production and processes,” she says. “The old factory was inefficient – this new one is open plan and workflow is far better – this will certainly save us valuable time and increase capacity. We will have capacity for an extra £1 million of sales a year.”
The company engaged with consultants at AMRC North West, part of the University of Sheffield, to help with the new strategy, devising the streamlined workflows and time saving measures that will enable the business to remain ahead of competitors. The European Regional Development Fund provided some of the funding needed for the project.
At the same time the company has replaced an Agfa platesetter with the latest version with Azura chemistry free plates. This feeds its five and six colour B1 Speedmaster and its Speedmaster 74-6. The company has a full service offering, backing the litho capacity with digital print, stitching and perfect binding, and die cutting platen with foil blocking.
Hindley adds: “I would encourage all businesses to look at opportunities rather than feel defeated. In these difficult times we have managed to not turn down a single job and have done everything we can to keep our workforce in jobs. We want to play a part in getting Britain moving again after this crisis is over, part of our role in that is remaining open and functioning. Those who work at Peter Scott Printers are hidden heroes.”