Expansion has been the name of the game for Leeds-based Fast Box Ltd since it was created by Jim Fuller 15 years ago. After being incorporated four years later in 2004, the corrugated box specialist has continually moved premises as it has grown but it is hoping that it will be staying at its latest site for some time yet, as John Doran, Commercial Manager, recently explained to FMCG.
“We were originally set up to supply small quantity boxes from stock board for Just in Time packaging for companies across the north of the country,” says John. “The company has grown from the original workforce of Jim and two others to its current staffing level of approximately 25. As the team has expanded so has our facilities and since I started in the business eight years ago we’ve moved twice.
“We were initially based at a unit on Garnet Road in Leeds, after which we moved to a larger factory on Barkly Road in Beeston Leeds, before moving to our current premises on Haigh Park Road in Leeds in September 2013. The latest move has given us much more warehouse space that we’re hoping will set us in good stead moving forward. We don’t want to move again any time soon as it’s such an expensive exercise, especially with the amount of plant that we have now.”
The extra warehousing capabilities is enabling Fast Box to stock more product, which in turn allows it to respond better to our customers’ Just in Time requests. It has also provided room for further expansion when required and there is capacity to add to the site. As for the reasons behind the growth that Fast Box has enjoyed, Mr Doran believes its proactive commitment to investment has been key, as has its attention to detail.
“Much of our success to due to our presentation and the fact that we’re prepared to go that extra mile. We take a little bit more consideration into how we present our boxes and we are able to tailor our service to meet the customer’s specific requirements. For instance, if they want the boxes to be bundled and labelled we can do that, whilst we also put edge protectors under the straps – little added extras that other companies won’t do.
“Much of our success to due to our presentation and the fact that we’re prepared to go that extra mile. We take a little bit more consideration into how we present our boxes and we are able to tailor our service to meet the customer’s specific requirements. For instance, if they want the boxes to be bundled and labelled we can do that, whilst we also put edge protectors under the straps – little added extras that other companies won’t do.”
John Doran, Commercial Manager
“To support our emphasis on service, as we’ve grown Jonathan Fuller our MD. has purchased new machinery to be able to cope with the additional workload our approach has generated. We’ve invested in new die-cutting machinery, new production machinery for standard box making and finishing machines. We have also purchased a two-colour printer slotter to be able to print the boxes as well.”
This continual investment in its infrastructure has enabled Fast Box to build a wide and diverse customer base that encompasses everything from one-man-band eBay sellers all the way through to Blue Chip companies. Geographically the company is able to cover the entire country and it can service local accounts in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and into Manchester and Lancashire with its own vehicles and as far south as Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Other deliveries further afield nationally are carried out by a national pallet distribution network.
Fast Box is now striving to maximise its capabilities by continuing to focus on those areas of the market in which it specialises. “We do a significant amount of Just in Time work, which has become our niche area,” adds John. “We carry a lot of stock board so we can respond very quickly to people that have spotted a last minute opportunity and need 100 or 200 boxes today or tomorrow morning. We’ve got enough stock to be able to meet this level of demand and more.
“During the downturn within the wider economy we were able to manage by being able to adapt and this is another important strength we have as a company. We can grow quite quickly by utilising staff so our workforce is flexible. We have a core of trained employees who can swap from machine to machine so we can quickly turn on the tap and react to the fluctuations in the marketplace. Therefore when customers need us to respond quickly we are able to do so, which has been good for us as it has enabled us to meet their requirements.”
It’s obvious that Fast Box has hit upon a winning formula and its approach is sure to see it travelling along an upward trajectory as it continues to provide a flexible service to customers in 2015 and further into the future as well.