CMS rounds off £500k summer spend

CMS: third big spend this summer
CMS: third big spend this summer

Central Mailing Services (CMS) has completed a £500,000-plus summer investment spree with a fully loaded Sitma polywrapping line.

CMS managing director Mitesh Chouhan said that while he understood investing just shy of £190,000 in an additional polywrapping line may seem counterintuitive, when many had been talking about the demise of poly, it had been driven by demand.

“As I sit here right now, we’re busier than we have ever been [pre-Covid]… we’ve picked up a lot of long run poly work and whilst we have five lines, on the big work you have to run it fast to make a profit,” he said.

The firm bought the used Sitma W1050 from Retail Mailing Solutions (RMS), which closed its 36-staff Rainham facility this summer after the loss of The Guardian’s newspaper supplement wrapping work. The business’s remaining kit, including two other Sitma 1050s, was auctioned last week.

Chouhan described the closure of the facility as a tragedy as it was “the best polywrapping company in the UK”.

He added that when the 2007 polywrapper was first installed at RMS it was a €1.1m (£986,000) line.

The machine going to CMS is configured with a wide range of enhancements including twin shuttle feeders, five high-speed rotary feeders, newspaper feeder, Domino inkjetting, and robot delivery.

CMS acquired the line pre-auction from RMS direct as it had already been talking to Sitma about adding a high spec polywrapper. It arrives today (28 September).

“The 1050 is best polywrapper in the world bar none, it’s a 21,000iph machine, we currently polywrap at around 6,000 per hour, we can get to 10,000, but this takes us to a whole different level.”

The firm was running a battery of Norpack P9s, a Sitma 905, a Buhrs 1000 and the CMC One paper wrapping line it installed in last year, which can also convert to poly. However, the new Sitma 1050 will replace the 905 and one of the Norpacks will be broken and kept for spares.

“The short run work will go on the Norpacks, and the bigger runs, over 10,000 going into millions will run on the Sitma 1050,” said Chouhan.

CMS is already in discussions with a number of former RMS clients.

The relocation of the Sitma line is being handled by Sitma’s UK agent Engelmann & Buckham.

This latest spend follows the Birmingham mailing house signing for a new CMC 250 enclosing line, its second, in July. The circa €250,000 (£220,000) highly spec’d machine is due to arrive in November, when a £65,000 CMC Robot 2000 for the delivery end of its CMC One paper wrapping line will also be installed.

It also installed a second Kern 3500 envelope enclosing line in July, the £100,000 refurbished line was added to support a summer rise in critical mailings.

The kit investments were all essentially part of the company's strategy to reduce headcount while simultaneously increasing output and efficiency.

While the business has cut its workforce to around 65, compared to pre-Covid levels of nearer 100, all staff are back from furlough and it is currently recruiting for a number of roles.

Chouhan said that since lockdown CMS had reconfigured its team to target growth, with the business now employing eight sales staff up from the one it had before March.

“We’re running two production shifts and having a temporary third one on paper wrapping [to run 24 hours], but I’m looking at possibly adding another paper wrapping line,” he said.

“We were still profitable in the worse Covid period and right now we’ve got a full order book and we have to keep investing to stay at that pace.

“It’s tough and you have to keep reinventing yourself, but as long as we give our clients the best service and our efficiencies keep us competitive, it’s a simple formula.”