Manchester-headquartered packaging specialist DUO has doubled UK-based production in 2020 following a £1.85 million investment, which has produced its largest sales month on record.
The company has invested in new equipment and extended its facilities to produce 58 million more mailing bags this year to date, an increase of 66% compared to 2019, and is growing its manufacturing team with the creation of seven new jobs.
Anthony Brimelow, commercial director at DUO, said: “Our international trading partners have been affected by closures and supply chain delays caused by coronavirus. We moved quickly to address this and were able to accelerate the installation of our new equipment and site expansion, as well as safely adapting our production capabilities and working patterns, to ensure we could satisfy growing demand for e-commerce mailing bags and other products being used in the fight against Covid-19 such as hygienic packaging for face masks.”
DUO has purchased new manufacturing equipment including a conversion machine and a five-layer co-extruder, which has increased polythene film output by around 25%. With IMRG predicting as many as 120 million parcels could be dispatched in the week following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the new equipment has enabled DUO to more than comfortably meet peak seasonal demand for its packaging solutions. Total sales in November were up 22% against last year, making it the largest total monthly sales in the company’s 32-year history.
“As well as increasing our UK-based production capacity, the new equipment improves our range of technical abilities and allows us to manufacture more films using recycled polythene content. This fits with our wider strategy to reduce carbon emissions, utilise waste polythene and create more sustainable packaging,” Anthony added.
The company, which received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation earlier this year, has seen a 10% increase in the volume of recycled content it uses during manufacturing in 2020 and has sold more than 15.5 million of its well-renowned GreenPE mailing bags this year to date. DUO was the first manufacturer in the UK to make these mailing bags from renewable and sustainable sources of sugar cane.
In addition to new equipment and the expansion of its Manchester facility, the £1.85 million investment is being used to refurbish the site’s staff canteen and break rooms, creating a new socially distanced space. The design gives a nod to the 1980s in celebration of when the company was founded in 1988, as well as capturing the family values of the business and cementing its forward-thinking approach to packaging design and manufacture. With the site expansion now complete, the company has already turned its focus to 2021 and has committed a further £1m investment in new equipment to increase production capacity, including the buildout of its sustainable product range that utilises waste polythene, and further develop its international footprint.
Anthony concluded: “Despite the challenges of this year, it has been a real positive to grow our UK-based capabilities. We’re now looking forward to continuing this alongside our international trade partners and as part of our global network.
“Drawing on our presence in countries such as China, Germany, the US and Australia, as well as the UK, strengthens our resilience and underpins our commitment to maximising sustainability. We’re in position to determine the most carbon efficient packaging solutions for our clients, no matter where they are based, and will build on this with future investment and research that reduces carbon and improves resourcefulness.”