Manufacturer of the YearBack to Winners
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From selling a single hangover cure to becoming one of the UK’s biggest dietary supplement manufacturers, Rochester’s Hectic Lifestyles, trading as Nutra Direct, has Rochester’s Hectic Lifestyles, trading as Nutra Direct, has accelerated at pace – and shows no sign of slowing down. Today, it sells to some of the biggest retailers and has developed an enviable reputation, built on investment in leading technologies to streamline its manufacturing process.
And it says at the heart of its success is “ripping up the rigid, outdated concepts of what a manufacturer can do”. Thus, it says it can deliver shorter lead times and greater capacity for growth over its competitors.
Since moving into new, expanded, premises on Medway Valley Park in 2020, it has invested heavily in the latest equipment in a bid to give it the edge over rivals.
Key innovations include having integrated fully automated capsule and tablet lines – reducing the reliance on operator intervention, and increasing uptime.
The tablet press can run overnight with no need for staff to be present, ushering in the potential for 24-hour manufacturing without needing to increase shift patterns. The machine has over 200 fault check parameters, and can be started or stopped by an app on managing director Bal Sandher’s phone.
A new Bosch capsule filler check weighs each individual capsule meaning 100% of its products are manufactured within specification. The machine will also automatically adjust tamping pressures to achieve constant weights, all without the machine even stopping.
When a bottleneck was identified in the blending of powders, a new future-proof system was introduced allowing it to blend up to 15 different products independently – increasing capacity from eight tonnes a week to 60.
It has even brought packing products in-house too to speed up the process – offering pots, pouches and blister packs.
The result has been an increase from its first year of trading, in 2008, of a turnover of £5,000 to £4.9m for 2019 and hopes of hitting close to £8m this year. It currently has nearly £3m in open sales orders – customers include the likes of Holland & Barrett – and sales growth over the last three years has stood at 220%.
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