Packaging firm in Whittlesey looks to bright future after boxing in Covid

A packaging company in Whittlesey is looking to a bright future after a determined battle to get through the Covid pandemic.
BOBST machine installed at Manor Packaging Whittlesey with Director Tony Clifton (left) and MD David Orr (right).BOBST machine installed at Manor Packaging Whittlesey with Director Tony Clifton (left) and MD David Orr (right).
BOBST machine installed at Manor Packaging Whittlesey with Director Tony Clifton (left) and MD David Orr (right).

Bosses of Fencor Packaging Group, which operates Manor Packaging, in Station Road, vowed at the start of the health crisis that the company, employing 140 staff would emerge from the crisis intact and with no job losses.

A strategy of regular investment over the years has also ensured the £18.75 million turnover company can meet the growing demand for its products.

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Managing director David Orr said: “It became clear to us at the onset of the pandemic that we are part of a critical supply chain, as a number of our customers are delivering their products into hospitals, supermarkets and the home via e-commerce.

“We engaged with our staff in March and declared that we aim to emerge from this crisis intact as a team, with no job losses and no financial distress to any of our employees, however long it takes.

“We immediately implemented a number of exceptional measures to protect them, including strict hygiene and distancing protocols, segregated shifts and rota systems. Their response has been magnificent. Some customers have been very busy and we’ve had managers running machines and teams working through bank holidays.”

Over the last seven years, Fencor has invested £10 million upgrading capabilities and bought an extra 51,000sqft of warehousing space with a further 40,000sqft planned for next year. It recently installed a Bobst casemaker production line, which has been vital in coping with peak demand.

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Fencor Packaging Group is an independent group of packaging manufacturing companies, which also includes Easypack/POP Displays Group with sites in Wisbech, which has 21 staff, and Mildenhall with 46 staff and both designing and manufacturing corrugated structural display units for the consumer market.

Manor Packaging has 73 staff and focuses on producing corrugated packaging for the consumer and industrial markets.

Mr Orr said: “In many ways Covid-19 has helped us to define our identity as an organisation.

“Our greatest asset is our people and this experience has underlined what a great asset they are. Insofar as we can look to the future, we shall do more to invest in our people and we shall continue to invest in our capabilities as the demand from our customers dictates.

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“During the pandemic we have continued to build our team - in the last few weeks we have filled three new vacancies and there will doubtless be a need to build further.

“We shall also continue our drive on sustainability. Our basic raw material is paper and so our product is inherently very sustainable.

“We have already committed ourselves to being carbon neutral by 2030 and we are pursuing a number of other initiatives which will help us on this journey.”

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