Founded in 1999, Louth, UK-based P. H. Mountain Corrugated Ltd is gearing up for its 25th anniversary in great style, opening a new factory and rolling out a new corporate branding.
“We specialise in the production of cost effective, great quality packaging for a wide range of customers,” explains Nick Mountain, Sales Director. “Over the last few years we have partnered with many different businesses, large and small, ranging from small packaging distributors all the way to some big names within the industry. We have the ability to supply virtually any type of corrugated pad or partition with very little minimum order quantities.”
Over the last five or so years, the company was starting to get to the stage that its premises were simply too small. With a firm commitment to its growth, the company took the opportunity to buy an acre of land, not too far from its existing site, with a view to building a new factory. A suitable plot was found in 2019, with outline planning permission being granted shortly after. But then came the pandemic in early 2020.
“The pandemic certainly put the brakes on!” recounts Mountain. “We had placed an order for the first ever Uni.Co modular cutting machine from Solema and the plan was to install it in a new factory, but with the pandemic taking a grip, we decided to suspend the new build project and instead, opted to install the Uni.Co in the old factory, even though we didn’t really have the space for it.”
What the company wasn’t expecting was the rapid up-tick in orders and enquiries during the pandemic. “We had hunkered down and were preparing for the worst, but what happened was a polar opposite,” continues Mountain. “We became inundated with orders, which resulted in longer lead times – not ideal. So we pulled the trigger on the project to start building the new factory.”
Using local contractors, P.H. Mountain began building its new factory in the summer of 2022. “As we had the plans and approval already in place, we were able to start pretty quickly,” says Mountain. “The builder is based within a stone’s throw of the site, so they were able to move the development along really well. By February, we were ready to start moving the offices and equipment to their new home.”
As you would expect of a modern build, this new 9,000 sq ft factory is made with the latest materials for insulation and sound-proofing. An array of solar panels on the roof generate enough energy to power the entire facility, from the machinery right through to the computers in the sales, design and admin departments.
“It was a rather stressful February, as we had to try and move equipment as quickly as possible to minimise downtime and loss of production,” adds Mountain. “We asked Solema to help us with the specialist moving of the machinery, and the engineer they sent was absolutely brilliant. He was with us for just over a week, during which time he helped us move the Uni.Co, Andax assembler and Gandria pad cutter to the new site and get them up and running in no time at all. We can’t thank Solema enough, they were fantastic in support.”
So what is next?
To have invested over 40% of its annual turnover in building a new factory is not for the faint-hearted. “We knew it was a big project, but it was definitely the right move, and secures our future,” concludes Mountain. “We took the chance to roll out a new corporate branding, as we look to engage even more with the customer base throughout the UK. We have had a great reaction from customers so far and those who have visited have all been impressed – so much so, some of them have increased their annual spend with us.”
The future looks bright for sure. Generating £2.5m in sales with only 16 people is impressive, but there is no doubt that the new facility, state-of-the-art Uni.Co and a strong work ethic will see this trade supplier take the next big step in its evolution over the coming year.