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Wood's Packaging: new kids on the block.

Nov 02, 2016
Deputy Editor David Jordan takes a trip down memory lane to visit one of the UK’s burgeoning suppliers of packaging to the removals industry.

As a Yorkshireman now living in exile in Bedfordshire, I was looking forward to revisiting Castleford where I’d worked back in the 1970s. The town is very different now. Modern industrial estates, a multiplex cinema and giant Xscape building now stand where pithead-gear once dominated the landscape and coal was king.  

Wood's Packaging’s smart new building just half a mile from the M62 – still under construction when I lived there – is an ideal location for a company delivering goods nationwide, with motorway links to the north, south, east and west of the country. 

The air in ‘Cass’, as the locals call it, was once permeated with an acrid smell from the huge coke ovens. Now the air is clear and as I entered Wood’s immaculate reception area delicately scented with sandalwood, I realised just how much the Castleford of old has changed. 

Managing Director Tony Wood and Sales Advisor Mark Winterbourne came down to meet me and over a mug of Yorkshire tea, Tony explained how the business had evolved. 

“I started the business with my brother Michael in 1992,” said Tony. “We were both working in the industry and decided we could do things better, so Wood’s Packaging was born. Even in those days we were supplying to the removals industry, but our main business was with furniture manufacturers and retailers.” 

“We started with a 500 sqft warehouse in the middle of Leeds and after a couple of years moved to a 1,500 sqft unit in Castleford and over the years we’ve taken on more space as we needed it.  Last year we moved to this brand new building, it’s only a couple of hundred yards from the old one but has 13,000 sqft of warehousing."  

Tony’s brother Michael retired in 2005 and the company has grown and diversified into other markets during the past ten years, including expanding the removals side of the business. 

“The removals business really started to take off a couple of years ago when we introduced padded covers for, TVs, etc. to our range," said Mark Winterbourne.  “We negotiated a very good price with our suppliers and removers were very keen to snap them up.  Everything has just snowballed since then, so I guess in some ways we’re the new kids on the block.” 

“We listen to our customers and their feedback.  If, for example, a number of removers ask for a product we don’t stock, we’ll look for a supplier and if it’s not available we’ll consider getting it made,” said Mark. 

Coloured plastic wardrobes and packing tape printed with the remover’s name and a list of rooms the customer can tick to show where the box needs to go at destination, are just a couple of products recently introduced. 

“Having more space has meant we can order products in greater quantities and therefore get a better price from our suppliers,” said Tony. “The packaging industry is very competitive, so it’s not only important to give a great service, you need to be able to offer good prices too.” 

Wood's Packaging delivers nationwide and there is no minimum order. They will also deliver direct to the customer and invoice the removals company at a pre-arranged price, allowing a percentage to be added if they wish to do so. 

After our meeting Tony and Mark showed me around the new warehouse and I noticed among the corrugated boxes, bubble wrap and tape a number of sack barrows, piano trucks, dollies and other specialist equipment for the moving business. Mark said the number of products held for the industry now stands at over 100 and new items are being added all the time in line with customer demand. 

Recently Wood's became a member of Move Assured and Tony and Mark are looking forward to meeting new customers and expanding their business with the moving industry in the future. 

Before I headed home there was just one thing left to do.  As all Yorkshire people living abroad will know, you never get used to southern fish n’ chips.  Thank goodness some things in Yorkshire haven’t changed! 

Photos: Top right: Mark Winterbourne (left) and Tony woods; Middle: warehouse interior shots and Matt in the warehouse.  

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