Packaging giant keeps close to its roots A huge proportion of the packaging that shoppers see on Britain’s supermarket shelves originates with one company, and that company has deep roots in Wales. After 20 years of dynamic growth, DS Smith PLC is now the largest producer of corrugated packaging in the UK and the second largest in Europe, with a turnover of £4 billion per annum and a total workforce of more than 20,000.
After a search of potential locations across the UK, the FTSE 250 enterprise decided to locate its new centralised shared service centre at flagship offices in Caerphilly.
This 12,000 sq ft nerve centre, which opened in September 2012, It is also one of the top international will, by 2014, provide all of the suppliers of recycled packaging Group’s 40 or so UK sites – including material for consumer goods and a production plants, offices and leader in the provision of recycling recycling centres - with key services services to clients ranging from such as finance, recruitment, IT corner shops to major corporations support, training, payroll, pensions and big name retail chains. and purchasing services. The birthplace of this now global enterprise was Neath in South Wales, where it was founded as a carton manufacturer by David S Smith in 1940. Today, following decades of expansion, acquisition and development across Britain, Europe and the world, DS Smith is once again choosing Wales as a pivotal point for its operations, with the creation of a new UK centre for all of the Group’s back office functions.
The new Caerphilly facility represents a further investment by DS Smith in Wales where it now has a total of four installations, including the UK headquarters of its Recycling Division, a packaging production plant at Neath and a recycling centre at Bedwas. Neil Trigg, head of financial control at the new centre explained why Wales was an attractive choice for the Group’s new shared service operation. “One of the key things was the availability of suitable recruits. We knew
this because we already had a successful headquarters for the Recycling division in the Caerphilly area, which opened in 2008. “We needed staff who could interact well with people and that is something we find is instinctive to a lot of people in South Wales. In addition our existing divisional HQ has very low staff turnover so we knew retention rates were very good in the area and it is never hard to find good replacements if people do leave.” He said the new centre was recruiting people at various levels for both graduate and non-graduate type roles across disciplines such as finance, IT and human resources. So far virtually all of the recruits for staff and management posts have come from the local area. Commenting on the new team members already on board at Caerphilly, he added: “there is a good level of awareness and knowledge of IT in the local workforce, who are also very good at adapting to new processes and technologies.” Neil added that South Wales has also proved a great location for transport links to other parts of the UK, which is important because the firm’s customer and supplier base is widely spread.
In setting up its Recycling headquarters in 2008, and more recently in opening its UK shared service centre, DS Smith has worked closely with the Welsh Government. This included government funding support for its initial capital investment to build and fit out the ultra-modern facilities as well as finance to cover a significant part of the on-going training costs. Staff development support included on and off-site training in general key skills, specific job competencies and leadership and management skills. “We have a number of people enrolled on leadership and management courses at the moment and that is supported by grant funding”, said Neil. He explained that the addition of the Caerphilly shared service centre to the company’s network meant that South Wales now accounts for the highest concentration of facilities in the Group.
Moreover, said Neil, the new Caerphilly centre has the potential to become the backoffice hub for DS Smith’s wider international operations.
For more information contact the Welsh Government. Email: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)3000 6 03000 Web: wales.com/business
WG18862 / G/MH/4833 / 1213 / © Crown copyright 2013