Blake CEO, Michael Barter reflects back over the most successful year in the history of Blake.
At the end of 2016 we came up with the concept of creating ‘Hubs of Excellence’ across the UK, in answer to recruitment challenges we have had in attracting top envelope talent to Yeovil. In 2017 the concept became a reality with the opening of Leeds, Manchester and London, managed by teams of experienced professionals from the envelope, paper and packaging sector. The success of this concept has encouraged us to open more offices in 2018, and three further locations are being considered.
The market saw a continued volume reduction of envelope usage by 5 per cent. However, at Blake we have bucked the trend with a 12.5 per cent growth increase year on year, with November being our record-breaking month, processing more sales than ever before.
We always try to look ahead here at Blake by pre-empting threats to our continued growth. With this in mind, one of our significant accomplishments in 2017 was the strategic acquisition of Rapid, a reel fed envelope production site. Acquiring Rapid means we can now meet increased demand for faster delivery times alongside negating some of the impact of Brexit by reshoring business to the UK.
Following on from a successful 2017 we will also be launching our new envelope product book in the upcoming weeks. The new book will see further products being launched, most of which are new to Blake and see a closer alignment of our Creative Colour envelope range with our packaging offering.
We believe in our people and their development and under the excellent management of Managing Director, Graham Carlin we are developing training and development programmes for all our staff. We have also introduced agile working within the office, enabling staff to be creative and innovative. This has already seen benefits in staff productivity and morale.
Graham Carlin, Managing Director said, "I’m fortunate to work with the best people in our industry, our success to date and particularly last year is the result of us improving in all areas of our business whilst growing stronger as a team. Within an environment where operational excellence is the norm, our ability to deliver the best customer experience is, I believe, unrivalled. We are ready for the challenges in delivering our exciting and demanding plans for 2018."
What we have achieved in 2017 is a far cry from the days spent in my attic, where the business began 17 years ago. Whilst we are cautious about making bold statements for 2018, I am convinced with the team we have that we will continue to succeed with our ambitions, and with our forward-thinking strategy, I feel 2018 will be our greatest year yet.
I would like to extend a thank you to all our customers new and old for your business, I trust that our business relationship is getting stronger each week. I would also take this opportunity to say a big thank you to my wonderful staff that continue to make Blake market leaders and help us grow in adverse market conditions.