Thursday, January 14, 2021

News: Rotherham label company tagged for future growth


Hine Labels, based in Rotherham, has bounced back stronger from the impact of Covid-19 lockdown, after it took the opportunity to refocus and develop its people through training part funded by Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s Skills Bank.

Hine, known as the Label Experts, saw business reduce significantly back in March, but they managed to stay open as much of their work was in the food industry, although a number of employees had to be temporarily furloughed.

The company, based in the Greasbrough Road area, had secured a productivity grant of £100k in 2019 to extend its workspace by double the size as it had outgrown its premises and capacity issues were preventing further business expansion. Hine Labels also invested in Lean Training to help the company to increase productivity.

Anita Hine, managing director of Hine Labels, said: "Work dropped off drastically in March but the furlough scheme proved to be a lifeline for our employees – many of whom have been with us for several years. We kept a core team working and focused on meeting customer needs and maintaining our high standards of service and delivery. We received large orders for hand sanitising labels, which essentially kept our cashflow going at this difficult time.

"We had just appointed a Marketing Manager, Caroline Haywood of Purple Genie too and she embarked on a digital marketing campaign aimed at generating more orders from existing customers. As the business was quieter, we decided to take advantage of this and focus on setting our company up for growth."

Hine Labels appointed Genius Division in Barnsley to build a new website and a modern brand identity. The company also set out to differentiate its traditional trade work from its online offering –, which is a new e-commerce site developed for customers who wanted small orders of pouches and labels.

Hine Labels has also created several new roles in recent months, including Digital Finishing and Despatch Supervisors, a Quality Manager and a Health & Safety Manager. Another major impact of the training is that Hine Labels has been able to reduce waste, which should also have a beneficial impact on its bottom line.

Anita added: "I'm delighted to report that we have come out of the pandemic as a much stronger business. We have been able to bring our employees back from furlough and have moved into the new extension. Our workflow is now organised in a more efficient way and the new extension means we can become a BRC High Hygiene factory, so could produce our new flexible packaging range."

Over the last few months, Hine Labels has embarked on Lean Training with Lee Marlow of Astrum Business Transformation Ltd, which was fully funded through Skills Bank.

The Lean Training has led to a fundamental shift in the way Hine Labels ran the business. The company now has two separate workflows: one for traditional flexo printing and the other for digital printing. This means that the digital workflow can be much more automated, allowing for greater throughput.

Anita added: "Lean Training has helped us to identify the blockages in our production process. As a result, we have, for the first time, introduced shifts to improve efficiency. Staff have responded well to this as they were part of the process and recognised the need to change.

"Astrum worked with staff at all levels of the company and this has helped to bring about cultural change. As a result, we were able to move from a mindset of ‘we’ve always done it like this’ to embrace new ways of thinking, harnessing peoples’ skills to really benefit the company and change thinking across the entire business. Staff are now encouraged to put ideas forward and where these are adopted, we make sure the change is implemented effectively and safely channelled through the quality system. It really has transformed us from a small family firm to be ready to meet the challenges of a larger, more productive enterprise."

Rachel Fletcher, Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Business Advisor, said: "Hine Labels is a very forward-thinking business that recognised the need for change and has embraced this fully. The company is reaping the benefits of its larger facility and the Skills Bank training has meant a whole shift in culture and focus which will set them up for more growth. We are very excited to see what the future holds for Hine Labels."

Anita concludes: "We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from the Growth Hub Business Advisors and the Skills Advisors, in particular Rachel Fletcher and Julie Mather. We expect to see significant growth in the next 12 months and hopefully this will mean we can create more employment opportunities.

"We are projecting a significant increase in turnover for the coming year and feel sufficiently confident to invest a further half a million pounds in new equipment due to arrive early in the New Year."

Skills Bank is a programme developed by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership which matches private sector investment in skills training with public funding to help businesses invest in their workforce and improve their productivity. Funding is available to businesses that make a strong case for how the investment will deliver growth.

Hine Labels website
SCR Skills Bank website

Images: SCR Skills Bank


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