As we near the end of 2023, we are reflecting on the last 12 months in business in particular our key highlights and achievements. Like many businesses, our biggest challenge in 2023 was navigating the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis such as rocketing energy prices and supply chain costs. Despite these difficulties, we’ve had a rewarding year and on-boarded 110 new customers to join the Viscose family- read on for more…
Investing for success:
2023 saw a total of £500,000 being invested into our Swansea factory to maintain and improve on our facilities, ensuring our future and improving our sustainability.
Solar panel installation
Sustainability is at the core of what we do, therefore one of our proudest moments this year was the installation of solar panels in July.
Here’s a rundown of our set-up:
- SolarEdge Optimisation system-installed and managed by a local Welsh company EV Wales.
- A 100KW system across 250 panels
- The clever optimisers, attached to the panels, feedback real time data that allows us to monitor individual panels and track our energy generation and usage.
- 20% of our energy usage since July has been powered by solar, despite a very wet summer – we hope to improve on this in 2024!
- Since installation our solar panels have produced 30 MwH of energy.
- Our use of solar has saved 5.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 6 months alone.
- That’s the equivalent of planting 355 trees!
The panels installation is part of our commitment to becoming greener something we hope to continue in 2024 and beyond!
Our solar panels
In May we installed a brand-new Diamond duplex slitter and re-winder in our heat-shrink products department. Made here in the UK by Ashe converting, this machine has tripled our running speed from 200 meters p/min to 600 meters p/min allowing us to reduce lead times as well as reduce waste by 10-15%. To put this into context, a typical order now takes half the time than it did before, better for our customers and us.
Our new slitting machine
Creation of warehouse for distributed products
Back at the beginning of this year, we announced that we would be bringing our distributed Caps & Closures side of the business in house to our Swansea HQ and this was achieved in April. The goal has always been to unite our manufactured and distribution business units leading to increased efficiencies as well as providing job security for our valued workforce.
Until April of this year, we stored our Caps & Closures at a 3rd party warehouse, but with UK storage spaces at a premium in 2023, this year seemed like the perfect time to make the change! We placed a £15,000 investment on this project, which has allowed us to create an additional 150+ pallet spaces in our warehouse to store our Caps & Closures. This project has allowed us to invest in our workforce, as our warehouse is now even busier than before, we are now hiring for a new Warehouse Coordinator, good news for our staff and the business!
The racking when we first started our warehousing project in April / The racking now in December- full and ready for customers’ orders
Other sustainability improvements:
- We’ve produced 3.1 million meters of cellulose material used to make our Plastic-free shrink sleeves this year. This equates to 1940 miles which is almost enough material to walk around the whole of Wales twice! In 2023 we’ve produced over 74 million Plastic-free shrink sleeves which prevented 286 tonnes of single use plastic entering the waste stream.
- We’ve installed motion activated lighting in our office this year, better environmentally and more cost-effective for us!
- We’ve used 20% less electricity this year compared to last year.
Re-launched our website & improved branding:
We re-designed our website giving it a fresh new look, and some great new features such as online purchasing.
We released a video on our Plastic-free shrink sleeves demonstrating them degrading in soil in just 4 months, making them truly unique.
Our newsletter, Viscose Voice, was launched this year and we also worked with two key customers, Sauce Shop & The Isle of Wight Distillery, to produce in-depth case studies of how our solutions have assisted them to be successful.
Look out for lots more content coming in 2024!
As we move into the new year, we have much to look forward to.
We have new leadership under our newly appointed Managing Director, Emma Blackmore. Emma has been with us for over 10 years and brings a wealth of business and customer experience with her to the role. We wish Emma every success in 2024 and beyond!
We have two new members of staff joining our Sales and Services teams in January, planning a USA trip to visit our key distributors in March and exhibiting at our first trade show since before the Covid-19 Pandemic in April and lots more!
Until then, may we wish you Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year from Everyone at Viscose, we look forward to working with you in 2024!