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A business transformed

Apr 18, 2017
Editor Steve Jordan takes a trip to Yorkshire to visit Simpson Packaging’s new purpose-built HQ.

It was more than five years since I had visited Simpson Packaging in Dewsbury.  I knew the company had moved premises, that was why I had braved the M1 amid the full fury of storm Doris, but I was still surprised at what I saw as the Satnav said ‘You have reached your destination’.  

The old place, around a mile away from the new premises, had been a perfectly serviceable, if modest, rented warehouse and office that had been the company’s home for 19 years.  I had expected an expansion of the facility … but not this!   

Simpson’s new place is a purpose-built warehouse that is more than four times the floor area, twice the height and with three times the office accommodation.  It’s of a completely different order.  

Now I could ramble on about the size of the warehouse for as long as you like but, from a customer’s point of view, it doesn’t matter much.  What does matter is what the company can now do that was more difficult, or impossible, before.    

Well, for a start it can now buy in enough stock to satisfy the orders; a fundamental requirement of a supply company you might think.  But it wasn’t always so.  Andrew Simpson explained that at the old place life was much more complicated. “Stock was often committed before it even arrived into the depot,” he said.  “We couldn’t take in enough at a time so we had a lot of split deliveries which wasn’t good for customer service and increased our transport costs.”  

Now Simpson’s can order in much larger volumes, ensuring they have stock for delivery on one load, and allowing them to buy more economically thereby keeping costs down for customers. “People are expecting prices to go up because of Brexit and the increasing cost of materials,” said Andrew.  “But by buying more at a time we can help mitigate any price rises.  We might not be able to hold them off forever, but it does help.”  

Bubble wrap is a good example.  It’s lightweight, but bulky.  The new place has two mezzanine floors, each of 4,000 sq ft, just for bubble (all types including: anti-static, self adhesive and the ordinary one movers use).  The levels are connected by a conveyor system allowing a full load of product to be received and stacked in minutes.  Even so, Andrew said that they will turn the stock over every few days.  

Then there are the additional services that were impossible in the old warehouse.  These include the shrink wrapping of materials for direct delivery to customers.  “We supply product images to customers that want their own box shop on their websites,” said Andrew. “Their customers just click on the items they want and we pack it up and deliver it directly to them.  The moving company makes a mark-up on sales but never needs to even touch the product.”  

Simpson’s also now has the facilities to provide shrink-wrapped products for retail stands in moving or self storage company receptions.  In all it carries around 3,000 product lines all for delivery, nationwide, on its own vehicles and through its carrier network.  There’s even a new trade counter so companies can collect their own materials if they are passing on the M1.  Private customers can buy materials there too.  

So Simpson’s new place is much more than a warehouse.  It’s a new business.  It is more efficient, has more lines, a new super-efficient IT system, £1,000,000 worth of stock, more staff, more vehicles and under-cover loading to keep everything dry in the Yorkshire rain (I thought it never rains in Yorkshire!).  It’s virtually unrecognisable from the old days.    

I left, quite stunned, partially by Doris I admit, but mostly by the total transformation of what was already a successful business.  Well done chaps!

Photos:  Main photo: Andrew Simpson (left) and John Simpson; top right: Simpson’s new, purpose-built warehouse;  bottom right: the new facility allows far more stock to be stored; middle right: materials can be shrink wrapped for direct delivery to customers; bottom left: vehicle loading now takes place under cover.

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