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Kingfisher’s mantra for success

Kingfisher Label’s team is a crucial element of its consistent progress

Kingfisher Labels, a UK-based label and packaging converter, was established in 1996 in Bristol. Its mantra from day one has been simple, yet effective: a clear determination to become a major player in the self-adhesive label market by achieving steady, consistent business growth through total customer satisfaction.

‘We continually talk to our customers. We ask them what they want. We listen to their answers, and then we deliver,’ says Andy Watts, Kingfisher Labels’ sales director. ‘Yes, we are ruthless in our pursuit of quality and innovation, but first we make sure we are moving in the direction that best reflects the needs of our diverse customer base. And we love what we do.’

‘Offering a high-quality label printing service covering a wide range of products and services is what makes us leap out of bed in the morning,’ he continues. ‘From food and drinks labeling to the medical, pharmaceutical and automotive sectors, our knowledge, experience and capability enable us to work effectively across many different markets.’

The company recently announced financial results for the 12 months ending January 2020, which marked the record trading year in its history with turnover increasing by over 20 percent compared to the previous financial year

‘We are absolutely delighted with Kingfisher’s performance as, once again, we have delivered steady yet significant progress,’ says Watts. ‘Our mantra and core values sound obvious, but keeping our customers happy has helped us grow and be able to invest in state-of-the-art technologies to ensure our customers become even happier. It’s a straightforward, down to earth philosophy, and it works.’

Innovation and investment
Since Kingfisher Labels’ foundation, investment and innovation have been at the core of its success. From the very first purchase of a Mark Andy 3-color flexo press in 1996 to a GBP 1 million investment in machinery and technology in 2019 – and a further multi-million pound investment program recently announced – the team is always monitoring market trends and continually looking to invest shrewdly in technology, machinery, infrastructure, innovation and people.

Karl Jackson, production director at Kingfisher Labels, notes that the company’s continual investment in the latest technology ensures the production lines are as agile as possible to meet the evolving preferences of its customers. ‘We have recently purchased two new Edale printing presses, to add to our existing armory, as part of a multi-million pound investment program into printing equipment, infrastructure and human talent,’ he says. ‘And we know how important people are in our business – Kingfisher employees are a fantastic group of passionate people.

‘We expect to meet, and exceed, any print quality expectations regardless of the size of the print run. We are big enough to work with large multinational organizations and small enough to deliver a personalized service to all our customers – whether for a global brand or a local business.’ 

Facing Covid-19 head-on
Shortly after the announcement of the record trading year, the threat of the global coronavirus pandemic became a reality. However, thanks to extending working hours, being agile and flexible and focusing on quality and customer satisfaction, Kingfisher Labels has remained competitive throughout the pandemic. 

‘We were delighted with Kingfisher’s performance over our last financial year,’ says Andy Watts. ‘When Covid-19 became a global problem there was obvious concern, but with our solid foundations in place we felt prepared and able to meet the inevitable challenges head-on. Our turnover took a bit of a hit over the last few months, but our profitability has remained robust and resilient.’

Kingfisher immediately looked at measures that could be taken in order to continue to trade as effectively as possible throughout the pandemic. There was understandable nervousness among its team as constant messaging from the media painted a gloomy picture, so the converter acted quickly.

‘We are immensely proud of the reaction from our employees, which has enabled us to continue to operate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,‘ says Karl Jackson. 

The company furloughed a number of staff to enable social distancing at its factory. Gloves, masks and hand sanitizers were provided, and it ensured machine operators worked on the same presses rather than move to other equipment. The company’s office environment was also modified to ensure distances of over two meters between desks.

‘Our reputation for being flexible and agile is well-earned and we are always ready to do whatever it takes to protect our business and help our customers throughout this crisis,’ continues Jackson. ‘One good example is how we have worked closely with the brewing industry. With pubs and other hospitality venues having to close, the brewers have had to transfer a lot of their business from producing kegs into providing their products in bottles and cans. We have worked long into the night to help them with this challenging transition as we are very experienced in this sector.’

Kingfisher has also been quick to support the health services in the UK. During the pandemic employees worked extended hours to provide the NHS with labels for critical care products and they have also produced Feed NHS promotional stickers, a part of the campaign to provide front-line workers with healthy, hot meals throughout the Covid-19 crisis. 

The future
This year has been hugely challenging for millions of people and thousands of businesses around the world, but as we enter the second half of the year the team at Kingfisher Labels remains upbeat. ‘We are enormously proud of our team and what they have done to adapt to incredibly difficult trading conditions this year,’ says Andy Watts. ‘We know you cannot stand still in this market if you wish to achieve consistent business growth and we are excited about the future. The market has changed immeasurably since Kingfisher was formed and we have learned a great deal. 

Our constant interrogation of the new technologies available has seen us invest millions of pounds in ensuring our customers receive labels produced by some of the best, most efficient, modern machinery. And we will strive to continually raise the bar for new standards in labeling and packaging excellence.’

Andy Watts believes that the customer loyalty is one of the key reasons for Kingfisher’s consistent progress and a generous contribution to the fantastic financial results. ‘We will never take our customers for granted; the solid business relationships we have built with them are really important to us,’ he says.

‘We are always determined to support our customers and ensure they are continually pleased with the services and products we provide as we head towards Kingfisher Labels’ 25th anniversary in 2021,’ continues Watts. ‘We are very proud of this forthcoming landmark. The last quarter of a century has been a roller coaster ride at times, but we have maintained our determination to succeed and have delivered consistent business growth through total customer satisfaction. We are passionate about remaining innovative, we are ruthless in our pursuit of excellence and we are dedicated to keeping our customers happy and satisfying their requirements.’ 

This straightforward, down-to-earth philosophy, deeply rooted in the company’s values, reflects the profile of the business with its ambitions in the label and flexible packaging market. Most importantly, it is also shared by Kingfisher employees. ‘Our team is a fantastic group of passionate, dedicated local people who are totally committed to satisfying customers’ business requirements quickly and efficiently while focusing on quality. This superb team spirit has enabled us to keep going and look for any opportunities to continue on our upward spiral,’ concludes Jackson.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Piotr is a part of the global team of editors and comes to the magazine with extensive experience in journalism. He has background in print and digital media spanning different countries and industry sectors. He is based in the London office, reporting on European label market.

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