Here's How it all began
The Wilkins Group is a family business of three generations which was founded on Talbot Street in Nottingham in 1963 by graphic designer Ken Wilkins and son Andre. The company was called Ken Wilkins Design Associates (eventually changed to Ken Wilkins Print Ltd). Back then it was just one room and a drawing board. The company spent many years serving predominantly the textile market with printed packaging products, before moving to Colwick and purchasing a 5000 square foot building in a bid to grow. Over the following ten years, The Wilkins Group moved offices twice into larger houses in Nottingham with creaky floorboards supporting the firm’s first Heidelberg printing press. From there a loyal customer base expanded and grew and it was during this period that Andre’s girlfriend Ann joined the business as a receptionist. Ann went on to become his wife and later finance director.
Move to Colwick Nottingham
In 1973 the company moved to Colwick in Nottingham where it was to establish its roots in the city. Starting with just 5,000 sq. feet of production facility on that site. This was eventually increased to over 60,000 sq. feet over a number of years.
First Custom Build Warehouse
This period saw major factory extensions as well as the latest technology printing and finishing machines. In 1985 the first custom built warehouse opened and in 1987 a three-acre site was purchased in order for The Wilkins Group to expand. Over the next few years both of Andre’s sons Aron and Justin joined the business, with Aron on IT systems and general operations and later financial planning, and Justin on sales and marketing and personnel development. They have now been joined by their wives, Caroline on group procurement and Emma in group financial services.
The early 90s marked the first phase of building the firm’s new factory, which eventually brought them on to a fully integrated site at Private Road No1 in Colwick, Nottingham where the firm continued investing in the latest production equipment to manufacture and service packaging for the food industry in the main. In 1993 the company bought two of the latest technology automated printing presses. The second phase on the site was completed in the year 2000 and it is still the firm’s UK headquarters today.
First Offshore Factory
The firm set up its first offshore business facility in Sri Lanka to maintain a strong hold on the apparel industry that was rapidly re-locating. A lot of textile firms relocated to Sri Lanka in the 90s. Since then the worldwide retail-packaging firm has developed a team in Sri Lanka with an experienced skill-set in the garment and general packaging industry, up to now the operation has expanded significantly in Colombo and is a Sri Lankan Board of Investment Company.
2004 saw the incorporation of Wilkins Packaging Est. Europa srl. (Romania). This Business was set up to supply printed packaging to the region. At this time a lot of investment went into setting up the factory and developing a skill set required.
Wilkins Global Expansion
For more than ten years The Wilkins Group has become very integrated overseas with manufacturing hubs covering Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, China and USA with the infrastructure to service many surrounding countries.
Launch of Fusion
Saw the incorporation of the Wilkins Group’s storage and logistics business. This is named Fusion. Boasting a storage facility of over 75,000 sq. feet and a fleet of vehicles that now exceeds 30.
A landmark year that saw The Wilkins Group celebrate its 50th anniversary, celebrating half a century of spectacular growth, innovation, and unprecedented customer service across the industry.
New Sri Lanka Factory
The company invested more than $3million USD into a brand new state-of-the-art factory in Sri Lanka. They bought the land in 2013, with a grand opening due on October 23, 2015. By this point, the company’s group turnover topped £33M with 16.6 percent of sales coming from the overseas facilities. This is a £5.5M turnover internationally, which has been heavily reinvested back into various hubs. The Wilkins Group has invested £500,000 back into the China facility, £2M in Sri Lanka and £2m in Romania. There has also been a significant increase in staff across the group in the past two years.
Big Land Expansion of Private Road
In November of the same year, the Wilkins Group purchased approximately 3 acres of land immediately adjacent to the rear of its UK headquarters. This will provide future expansion for the UK business and accommodate potential 100 percent growth.
The Wilkins Group expands into the digital age, procuring the first digital enhancement machine in the UK carton manufacturing market.
The Wilkins Group is focused on bringing progression to all its sites across the globe. We are committed to maintaining the highest quality standards whilst at the same time bringing innovation and freshness to all our markets. Today we are the largest independently owned company in our sector and pride ourselves on the personal family touch in everything we do.
UK Head Office
+44 (0) 115 989 6000
The Wilkins Building,
Private Road Number 1,
Colwick Ind. Estate,
NG4 2JQ. UK.
Wilkins Sri Lanka
+94 11 486 5678
Wilkins Spence Packaging Lanka PVT
No. 374/5. Gonahena Rd, Kadawatha.
+86 (0) 756 322 1561
Suite 302, Unit 3,
Building 1, Jiu Zhou Hua Yuan, 455 Hao, Qing Lu Nan Lu, Zhuhai 519015, Guangdong.
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