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As we get closer and closer to the end of the year it seemed appropriate to feature a typical ‘round-up’ blog post, and share with you all the great things that have happened at Kite in 2013. Of course we couldn’t have done it without you – our customers, suppliers, media partners and of course our staff – all of which have worked in a partnership with us to ensure we continue to grow.
As a special thank you, just a last week we did something we have never done before – and took out a full page advert in The Times – Future of Packaging supplement to acknowledge all our partners. If you missed it, here it is in full glossy colour.
This advert marked a new step for our business, as we continue to make investments and expand our teams across the UK to continue the vision of being the number one packaging supplier in the UK. In today’s post we’ll be taking a look back at our activities in 2013 – it’s been quite a year!
2013 was a brilliant year for introducing new lines of product to the website, and for our branch customers. The first large product launched was our ‘enviro’ range, where we worked closely with WRAP (Waste and Reduction Action Programme) to develop products that not only helped the environment, but also delivered valuable cost-savings to customers. Our enviro-tape received great coverage in the press and was released with our enviro-tape calculator which can be used to see how much you can save when you switch. As well as this we launched enviro-boxes and enviro-stretch pallet wrap. The new single-wall boxes gave the same amount of strength as a double-wall, meaning less impact on the environment and cost savings in transit.
We also launched a completely new range of protective packaging solutions aimed at the art and picture industry, a key innovation as part of this range was our telescopic picture frame boxes which are designed to slide over pictures and protect all corners and edges. We also introduced a brand new section of the Kite website for this sector, so the art industry could purchase bubble wrap, cardboard sheets, fragile tape and picture boxes all in one place.
Perhaps the biggest product launch of all this year was our Mini Air System. Designed to target small to medium users of packaging it is still the cheapest air cushion machine on the market, at £599. The system was featured by a number of reputable warehousing journals and has done amazingly well in the last quarter – a cushion revolution!
One of the biggest projects for our Kite Online team was the re-development of our new website. This was completely built by our in-house team, and designed with our customers in mind to help their user experience. The new website had a clean and fresh feel to help with navigation and extra features to help with search. This included our unique ‘Search by Size’ tool which allows you to put in the dimensions of your product and generate results for the right size bags and boxes to package it in.
The launch tied in well with the release of the Mini Air, and the web team also created the Mini Air Price Comparison, which can show you how much money you will save on void fill materials when switching to air cushions. As well as this, interactive features such as social media buttons and a fully integrated blog platform were also added to allow our customers to share our content and most importantly have their say.
Take a look at our old and new website homepage’s – what a change!
Kite has been involved in a few different charitable activities over the year, and our employees have been essential to their success. Many of Kite’s employees have committed to individual fundraising, including a number of staff members who took part in gruelling sporting challenges such as the Great North Run.
We also raised money for Children in Need with a silent cake auction and bush tucker trials, as well as collecting food donations for food banks in our local area. And who could forget Movember? The Kite men did us proud, growing amazing moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer and men’s health charities.
We’ll also be rounding off the year with our annual raffle, giving employees a chance to win some fantastic prizes – kindly donated by our suppliers – and raise some more funds for local causes.
Kite has had a great year for growth in 2013, which started with the expansion of the business at the very beginning of the year, when the newest South West branch was opened. The new building was created to service Plymouth and surrounding areas, a great addition to the branch network.
We also heavily invested in our transport division this year, with a few new trucks added to our UK fleet – in particular a Wagon and Drag truck for our Swindon branch, and £80,000 investment which will help with the branches growth and on-going delivery demand.
Of course our biggest investments of the year were to do with property – investing a total of £5 million in our Midlands and Northern branch sites. The Coventry site which services the Midlands will be more the doubled – thanks to a £3.5 million investment, to 179,000 sq. ft from 69,000. Our Sheffield site was relocated to Rotherham – to a brand new building, an investment of £1.5 million.
Awards and Exhibitions
November marked a brilliant month for annual awards, and Kite were given the accolade of ‘Outstanding Company’ by Plimsoll Publishing and ‘Premier Supplier’ by Eaton Corporation. These were a great motivation for our business in Q4 and couldn’t have been achieved without the ongoing hard work of our brilliant team!
We also paid a visit to the Packaging Innovations Show in October, and launched our brand-new product for group customers – the Kite AirShock. The ‘armoured air’ pack was a huge success at the show, and you’ll be sure to be hearing much more about it in 2014.
2014 will signify the start of making the most of our acquisitions and using the growth we have experienced to give ourselves new challenges and goals. You’ll be hearing about a huge new project of ours in January, as well as all the fun from our offices via Facebook. Thanks for supporting us all the way through – here’s to another successful Kite year.