Following the recent announcement of its Management Buy Out (MBO), Leeds-based Fenton Packaging Solutions is continuing to expand and is investing in the future.

In May, ownership of the business passed from former managing director Bob Clarke to: managing partner of sales development Chris Warren; managing partner of supply chain David Wilson; and managing partner of finance Sharon Dakin.

Last year, the company relocated to a 65,000 sq.ft. site at Kinetic 45 in Newmarket Lane, Leeds, and rebranded as Fenton Packaging Solutions. It had invested over £1 million to streamline its operations and put a new fleet on the road. Now it has announced new investments and has begun a new round of recruitment.

“We continue to offer a consultative approach and, through innovation, help to steer our customers towards using the most sustainable packaging options for their businesses,” says Fenton Packaging Solutions Managing Partner of Supply Chain David Wilson. “Our latest investment in systems not only improves the customer experience, but also delivers major gains in carbon footprint reduction for our business and our clients.”

Sustainable future
Around half of Fenton’s product lines are made from highly-recyclable metal, and it is actively migrating its customers away from rigid plastic, to lighter and more sustainable packaging solutions such as bag-in-box. Meanwhile it has also introduced PCR Plastic Containers which contain a minimum of 30% recycled content, and are therefore exempt from the Plastic Packaging Tax.

“We are actively pursuing a number of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint,” says David Wilson. “Our fleet now totals 10 trucks, and meets all government standards in terms of emissions, and we are impressed by the improved fuel economy of our two latest vehicles. We’ve also installed electric vehicle charging points and our whole operations are now paperless.”

Culture change
“As we’ve settled into our new premises and enjoyed a period of steady growth, it has become essential to look at every possible way to improve our systems,” says Fenton Packaging Solutions Head of Supply Chain Ryan Banks.

“Investing in a paperless route optimisation system represents quite a step-change for the business and brings huge benefits for Fenton and its customers. It delivers a culture-change across the whole business, as we’ve literally gone from shuffling paper to gathering and using invaluable data which improves every aspect of our operations. The time-saving is the first obvious benefit, but we have also been excited by how much it reduces risk and removes potential margin of error. The system is accurate, flexible and adds value.

Next day delivery
“Our route optimisation system creates a ‘self-serve portal’ for our customers, where they can see everything, they need to know about their deliveries. Before the advent of online retailers, nobody really ever wanted ‘next day delivery’ but now expectations have changed, and it has become the norm. Our customers can now see when their delivery will happen and we know which days and times work best for them, so this has made our business more efficient, but also improved and enhanced customer relationships.

“Using this new system delivers an immediate sustainability win. The vast majority of the products we sell are unfilled lightweight packaging solutions, and optimisation means that we now run less empty space. Trailers can be loaded more efficiently according to that day’s delivery requirements and return loads can be allocated. This all contributes to a reduction of our carbon footprint.

Investing in people, for the future
“While embracing new software and ways of working is clearly the future for Fenton, I’m ever mindful that the experience of the existing team, many of whom have been with the business for over 20 years should not be undervalued,” says Ryan Banks. “I have learned so much through working with them and that knowledge is also now being captured and used for the benefit of our future growth.”

“Ryan is a great example of our approach to the future of the business.” says Managing Partner of Finance Sharon Dakin. “He joined Fenton straight from university and has grown into his current role very rapidly.

“We currently employ around 40 full-time staff members, and we are now introducing a graduate program. We have also begun the process of becoming an accredited Investors in People organisation. Investing in the latest and most advanced software systems to better manage the business, will also help us attract young talent.”

“Introducing our new route-optimisation system is just the latest step in future-proofing the business,” concludes David Wilson. “As we look to further grow the business and bring new skills and people into Fenton Packaging Solutions, we will also continue on our mission to bring more innovative, sustainable packaging solutions to the market.”