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- "We can now capture the whole value chain, from young plants to the consumer"
- Dutch Berries: 20 hectares of high-tech strawberry cultivation
- How to shift from optimal growth with LEDs to optimal energy usage
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Top 5 -last month
UK: Wellpak marks 20 years with continual change
From these humble beginnings, the company has expanded to fill several sites hosting leading edge technologies. Today it employs over 130 full time staff, a figure that can double during seasonal peaks. It has extended its supply range to include berries, grapes, exotic fruits, cherries, vegetables and salads and now serves multiple retailers, from the convenience, cash and carry, and food service sectors, through to several major supermarkets.
Perhaps the most important factor in Wellpak’s survival and growth is its owners’ vision in forming an original business model that sets it apart from competitors. Over the past five years, the management team has founded several partner companies: a ‘Service Ecosystem’. Each of the partner companies is individually branded and targeted at specific market segments but each is designed to have service relevance to the other and the Ecosystem as a whole. Together, they can be combined and configured to deliver a unified service to clients.
The partner companies include: Alomora Group, which provides management services across the entire Ecosystem; Ackio, a specialist and highly automated packing service for blueberries, cherries and cherry tomatoes; and Elision, a specialist contract packer that has recently expanded to a second site in Honeybourne, Worcestershire – a move that more than doubles its floorspace and will create up to 30 new jobs.
Gary Thomas, Director of Wellpak said: “Over the past 20 years, Wellpak has learnt to respond decisively to new challenges, and in inventive ways. The flexibility of our unique business model has given us agility in a fast-paced and increasingly competitive marketplace. We certainly intend to go on expanding the Service Ecosystem using the same business model. By working closely with our business partners, we’ve surprised people with the speed at which we’ve been able to source, pack and deliver quality fresh produce from around the world, both relentlessly and responsibly.”
Wellpak also attributes its success to its continual investment in new technologies. In 2011 it spotted an opportunity to pack South American blueberries from loose in bulk and sourced and configured a highly specialised packing machine that was the first of its kind in the UK, an investment of £1.5M, with a further potential investment in robotics of £0.5M beginning in December this year. It has just invested £150k in new packing equipment for Elision’s Honeybourne site, and more will follow as business ramps up over the coming months.
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