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Leeds exporter invests £750k in 'advanced' products

Stephenson, the Leeds-based soap base and specialty ingredients manufacturer, has invested more than £750k into upgrading its production facilities. The company is a major exporter with 85% of its products going overseas.

The investment will support the company’s expansion by upgrading facilities, enabling it to produce more technically advanced natural products.

Already this year, Stephenson has upgraded its site with the installation of an entirely new computer system with round the clock automated capability for receiving and processing customer orders, scheduling and prompting production.

Stephenson’s CEO, Jamie Bentley, commented: “In order to facilitate diversification and growth, continued investment is critical whether that is in technology, recruitment, staff training or plant and equipment.

“It’s vital to keep innovating in such a fiercely competitive sector as the personal care market, which is evolving all the time and changing rapidly, largely due to sustainability issues.

“We export approximately 85 per cent of everything that we make, with roughly one third going to customers in Europe, one third to the United States and the remainder to the rest of the world.

“We also have a unique situation whereby not one of our customers makes up more than seven per cent of our business, and this gives us a hugely varied base of brands and companies to work with.

“A business of this size makes its own fortunes and creates its own opportunities and investment plays a big role in this.

“Investing in automation is not at all about reducing staff, it is about improving efficiencies so that we can make larger volumes within the infrastructure that we possess and reduce batch times significantly through the use of analytics and data.

“As we work with natural raw materials, there will always be a level of variability when it comes to the chemical mixing process, therefore if we are able to control the dosing and processing of these we are able to create a more consistent product.

“Consequently, it means that we have raised our skill level, which allows us to begin to manufacture more complex products.”