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Digital Re-print November | December 2014
178 years in the sack making business

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F

&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY

36 | November - December 2014

GRAIN

178 years in the sack
making business
family business Peter Marsh & Sons has
been serving the industry since 1837
by Nick Hinton, Technical Sales Director, Peter Marsh Sacks

P

eter Marsh & Sons Ltd has been
trading since 1837 and will be entering
its 178th year of business in 2015.
The company is still owned by the Marsh
Family, with Simon Marsh being Chairman,
and his son Peter being Chief Executive
since 2001. This family lead and professional management approach has allowed the
company to survive and prosper with the
business model standing the test of time
and proving to be successful.
Given the current difficult market conditions with ever decreasing margins the
company has continued to be proactive
and invest in the future in terms of machinery, personnel and, of course, systems to
help the efficient and effective running
of their business. Investment in people
has involved detailed training appraisals
of all staff to strengthen basic skills. The
company is proud of its minimal turnover
of employees and is a family company in
every sense. The average length of service
for a workforce of approximately sixty-five
is more than 15 years, with many brothers,
sisters, cousins and other relatives working
together.
Peter Marsh & Sons Ltd is certified to
OHSAS 18001, ISO 9001 and ISO14001.
This means they have a fully integrated
Health & Safety, Environmental & Quality
Assurance System. As suppliers of paper
sacks into the flour, feed and human food
markets this is another important step into

maintaining their position as one of the leading packaging manufacturers in the U.K. With
these certifications and the BRC IoP global
standard for food packaging and other packaging materials, this means the company has
a fully integrated management system. Thus
the quality of the sacks and manufacturing
systems are closely monitored. This also
allows for the most energy efficient means of

production and the safety of the operation
itself to be closely scrutinised.
The company’s investment plan over the
past 10 years has been significant with the
installation of a state of the art robotic
palletiser which will allow the sacks to be
presented in a flatter and more accurate
condition. Given modern day filling lines
within Flour and Feed Mills, this is an essential

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&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY

GRAIN

requirement. The flatness of the sacks will
consequently improve throughput at the mills
that, in turn, can utilise their packing lines to
the optimum. Again this is an area that the
company has developed in tandem with their
customers and is a symptom of its general
business policy. Regular communication with
customers has helped to increase efficiencies,
thereby keeping costs down on both sides.
The installation of a Block Bottom and Pasted
Valve machine has moved the company into
new markets while cementing its position
within its current sectors. New PLC computer
control systems and digital glue control has
increased both flexibility and quality. Line
speed monitors and integrated interfaces
have enabled efficiencies to be improved and
monitored in real time. The recent appointment of a new Group Production Manager
will ensure continued advancements and the
implementation of lean management practices. Further investments include a new case
maker in the corrugated factory which can
now produce die cut shelf ready packaging
and a new pallet wrapping unit to ensure all
pallets are dispatched in premium condition.
The company continues to work closely
with a number of organisations to pro-

November - December 2014 | 39

mote the very nature of their product,
paper, in a modern day society where environmental issues are paramount. This has
involved talks with Councils and Composting
Representatives to look at paper as a real
alternative to other forms of packaging.
Further various high level discussions have
been held with Feed Companies to assess
the real possibility of transferring from plastic
packaging to paper. Paper is naturally purchased from renewable sources that comply
with either PEF (Pan European Forests) or
FSC (Forest Standard Council) protocols.
With oil being a finite resource and the
escalation of its price, this is now a real
dilemma and an area that can no longer be
ignored. Paper is now highly competitive and
of course environmentally friendly.
This year has seen the implementation
of the new FIR labelling regulations and all
packaging potentially destined for sale to the
general public will have to be amended to
detail all ingredients. Within the flour industry this has meant that the statutory additives
added under the Bread and Flour regulations
now have to be declared on sacks as well as
any allergen information. This will affect all
pre-pack SOS bags destined for retail sale

but also larger 10 kg 16 kg and 25 kg sacks
that may end up in a cash and carry, farm
shop or any outlet visited by the public.
The implementation date for these
regulations is December 13th 2014 and all
products packed after this date should be
in packaging that complies with the new
regulations. This has meant that nearly all
the flour sacks produced by Peter Marsh
have had to be amended and new artwork
signed off by their customers, new printing
plates or inserts produced and all pre print
stock converted. This will of course reduce
the flexibility of some packaging for the flour
millers with different declarations needed
for Plain White, Treated Flours, Brown,
Wholemeal and Self Raising Flours; Flours
will have to be packed in the right bags. Most
flour packed in the UK is destined for commercial use and not for resale and as such
the generic catchall type of sack will still have
its place. But consideration should be given
to the ultimate end use for a bag of flour. Do
you know what your customer is doing with
the flour you sell him?
Clearly, these are exciting times for Peter
Marsh and Sons Limited, who look forward
to the next 178 years!

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November - December 2014

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