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UK’s Wilkins Group opens US $ 3mn eco-friendly retail packaging factory in Mawaramandiya

26 November 2015 04:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Wilkins Spence Sri Lanka, a subsidiary of The Wilkins Group UK, recently celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art factory to produce retail packaging solutions in Mawaramandiya. 

The opening was attended by the board of directors of The Wilkins Group UK, dignitaries, factory officials and many esteemed customers.The 40,000 square feet factory was completed in 14 months and was facilitated with an investment of US $ 3 million by The Wilkins Group UK, which operates one of the largest independent packaging factories in the UK. 

The factory is now equipped with the latest innovations in technology to cater to the changing demand of a dynamic apparel industry and will produce swing tickets, labels, collar cards, cartons, staggered packs, stickers and a vast array of offset packaging requirements.  

The factory provides employment and training for its over 100 strong Sri Lankan workforce and its production capacity is increased by 80 percent from its previous capacity. The Sri Lanka factory will supply offset packaging requirements to customers in Sri Lanka, Asia and Europe and will expand its operations and diversify its services to meet world demand.

“The factory will serve as one of the world’s major facilities in the production of retail packaging solutions. As Sri Lanka propels its economy and gradually emerges from a three decade-long conflict, setting up an investment of this nature is a testament to our confidence and commitment to Sri Lanka and the region. We are excited about the journey ahead and look forward to stronger collaborations,” said The Wilkins Group UK Group Chairman and Managing Director André Wilkins, speaking at the opening of the factory in Sri Lanka. 

Situated in Mawaramandiya, this factory was built on the principles of green architecture, adhering to the US Green Building Council Standards for LEED certification. With an eye on sustainability and eco-friendly operations, the factory is installed with several unique features. It is equipped with energy-efficient AC units and is illuminated with LED lighting to emphasise energy saving. 

The factory’s unique roof design facilitates a solar reflective index of 96 percent, rainwater harvesting and daylight harvesting. The factory uses only vegetable and soy-based inks while raw materials such as carton board and paper are from sustainably managed forests and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The factory has also embarked on a tree planting campaign in partnership with local monasteries and communities and planted over 100 trees over the past year in the surrounding land and will continue its efforts.

Wilkins Spence Sri Lanka Director Yasantha Suriyapperuma commented on the factory’s commitment to ensuring quality across all business units and consolidating operations for future expansion. 

“Equipped with Heidelberg machines, this facility’s key strength is as a small format packaging solution unit with LEED certification. We manufacture for Marks & Spencer (M&S) - one of the world’s best known retailers - which is a testament to our attention to quality and also many other retailers and major global brands. In accordance with the specialised nature of the factory’s operations, our workforce has undergone special training in printing and quality assurance in compliance with the European Union and USA market standards,” stated Suriyapperuma

Dignitaries from the UK attending the opening ceremony also included Finance Director Ann Wilkins, Operations Director Aron Wilkins, Group Sales and Marketing Director Justin Wilkins, Financial Services Emma Wilkins, Group Purchasing Caroline Wilkins, Kim Philips – M&S Head of Packaging M&S PLC and Trevor Hatchett – Head of GM Packaging – Production, Quality and Sourcing. 

Wilkins Spence Sri Lanka is a Board of Investment (BoI) company and has been in business in Sri Lanka for over 15 years. It is a subsidiary of The Wilkins Group UK, a family-run business, which operates one of the largest packaging factories in the UK. Over the past decade, The Wilkins Group has expanded its manufacturing hubs to include Eastern Europe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and China, supporting them with technology and infrastructure. 
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