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KEY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Ink manufacturing
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 320
Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems exports to 86 countries with turnover of more than £79 million.
Originally launched as Sericol in 1951, moving to Broadstairs in 1962, the company has shifted away from its long standing but declining analogue screen ink business of the last 50 years.
The company was acquired by Fujifilm in 2005 and began investigating disruptive digital ink technology 15 years ago. The work is paying dividends.
Whereas analogue sales fell 15% last year, digital sales are growing at 10% a year after an initial surge of 20% for many years.
The newer ink is also four times more valuable per kilo than its older cousin, which has improved profitability considerably, more than doubling from two years ago and up 60% last year.
Today its goals are to profitably manage the decline of analogue ink and expand inkjet sales.
It invested £1 million in turning an existing part of its analogue manufacturing plant into a 720sq m packing area, which opened last year.
It has research and development facilites on site, which ensures close links are kept from lab to factory to customer when introducing new products.
The creation of a “continuous improvement team” has helped all areas of the business become more efficient.
Some 26 staff have completed NVQs and another 20 trained on special industry courses.
Continuous improvement manager Gary Burgess said: “During the company’s transition and expansion into the digital ink market, business flexibility and multi-skilling of staff was vital.
“Identifying areas of personal development was also key in taking Fujifilm employees and the business forward.”
It is improving its regulations on the control of major accidents, identifying possible hazardous scenarios and introducing key safety measures to meet stricter Health and Safety Executive guidelines.