Richard Hunter in conversation with KBB Review…

In next month’s KBB review, Ribble Packaging Sales Director, Richard Hunter will be covering ‘How to take back control of your packaging’. KBB Review is a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom specialist publication that is part of Taylist Media.

Here’s a run-down of everything we discussed…

What have been the challenges in the packaging market during 2021?

Towards the end of 2020 and for all of 2021, the demand for cardboard has shown exponential growth. The main challenge through this growth has been the extremely tight supply of paper from Europe and UK paper mills. This has led to hugely extended lead times for box orders across the UK with 4-8 weeks from some suppliers. Paper costs have also risen by nearly 50% since December 2020 leading to an increase in the cost of packaging.

How has Ribble helped KBB manufacturers secure their packaging supply chain?

During Q4 2020 and throughout 2021, Ribble Packaging has successfully met every customer’s service level agreement on time every time, not one contracted customer has seen delays in supply, which in itself is a remarkable statement considering the extreme pressures on raw material supply.  We have seen a rise in demand for our ‘Right size solutions’ which involves a supply of one of our core strategic growth products ‘Fanfold endless corrugated cardboard’. Customers including Wren Kitchens and Nobia have been able to take complete control of their packaging by having a flexible box making solution on site.

What are Right Size packaging solutions?

The solution involves endless corrugated Fanfold and a flexible ‘on-site solution’ from one of a number of machine and software specialists. Ribble Packaging is the UK dealer for Panotec, an Italian manufacturer and provider of state-of-the-art equipment.  Once the customer has both components, the machine system and Fanfold material, they can make perfect sized and structurally designed right size packaging for their supply chain. This can either be ‘batch’ production or true flexibility with every box being a different size.

What benefits do Right Size solutions offer?

Perfectly sized box making will reduce wasted corrugated material for each item that needs packing. It eliminates the need for ‘void fill’ and can also reduce the need for void protection such as ‘EPS’ polystyrene, blue foam edging and other protective and space-filling solutions currently used. As the machine can be fed by multiple widths of material, options for single and double wall plain and printed corrugated materials are catered for. Typically, we then see inventory reduction of ‘classic made’ boxes from 100’s of SKUs down to possibly 4-8 widths of continuous Fanfold.  The machine takes care of the style and sizing, and MOQ stocks of classic (traditionally supplied) boxes are hugely reduced, freeing up space and money. Of course, at this moment in time, the huge advantage is that the customer will always be able to make boxes to pack, ship and invoice their products to meet increasing demands through Ribble’s commitment to ensure corrugated Fanfold supplies are available.

Has Ribble made changes to their business to adapt to customer demands?

Yes, big steps have already been happening throughout 2020 and continue throughout 2021 and beyond.  The major investment includes the significant increase in capacity for Fanfold and sheet board production with the upgrades on the corrugator.  A second, ‘state of the art’ Fanfold down stacker was installed during August 2020 giving a 30% operational capacity increase and this followed upgrades in material handling and corrugator upgrades earlier in the year. An increase in 19,000 sq ft of warehouse space was completed in June 2020 and will see more space added in 2021.

We will continue to enhance production capability during 2021 and over the Christmas period at the end of 2021. Combined with an increase in available production hours and employment of new operational staff, sales team and administration personnel, along with our continued commitment to meet the increased demand for Fanfold and classic box production.

If you would like to take back control of your packaging supply, get in touch on 0161 284 9000 or

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