Woodway UK

The full package

With close to four decades of industry experience, Woodway UK boasts a rich history in industry experience, a diverse customer base and one of the most extensive stock and bespoke packaging ranges in the UK

Operating from its base in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, Woodway UK was founded in 1978 by Norman and Liz Inwood as Woodway Packaging and is today managed by their sons Jason and Martin Inwood. Since the company was initially started, the packaging industry and its wider marketplace have both changed considerably, with clients becoming increasingly aware of types of materials they use and the environmental impact of business operations. Over the years Woodway has grown alongside its customers and today concentrates on the key areas of brand presence, environmental impact, process efficiencies and the protection of products.

“What we see today is that while packaging was traditionally the last consideration when bringing a new product to market, it is now seen as an essential part of the supply chain,” explains Woodway UK Managing Director, Jason Inwood. “With the growing industry focus on brand enhancement and ensuring the environmental sustainability of packaging, it is increasingly important to be on site with customers to develop the appropriate packaging solution. As Woodway UK has grown we have developed a strong technical team that supports our sales function by fully understanding the needs of the business areas in which our customers operate. While cost is always a consideration, spending time with our clients to ensure that the final product is designed accordingly is vital.”

As part of its strategy to provide its clients with innovative solutions and high-quality bespoke packaging products, Woodway UK announced the opening of its comprehensive new Innovation Centre in August 2014. The centre focuses on the four key areas of environment, protection, brand and efficiency and includes a hands-on training facility with an educational area to allow the company to discuss best practice for packaging with clients. Furthermore, while the Innovation Centre allows Woodway UK to assist its clients in the design aspect of packaging solutions, Woodway UK has also invested in new warehousing space to meet the growing demand for the rapid availability of packaging at short notice. “The introduction of the Innovation Centre for packaging has given us a platform with which to come speak to clients about our packaging solutions and how we can bring their packaging to life. We can also provide real-time solutions by taking a product and designing the packaging in front of the customer so that they can have it there and then,” Jason reveals. “The packaging industry is on a constant journey and in addition to the Innovation Centre we have also opened several warehouses to accommodate the manufacturing side of the business, but also to meet the needs of customers that are increasing moving to a ‘stock and serve’ model. This means that they are able to call for stock from us just-intime to meet their demand, rather than having to take up their own space with packaging.”

It is becoming increasingly clear that packaging is playing a more important role in developing the brand image of companies operating across the retail sector, both in terms of the high street and in the wake of the rapid growth of online retailing. As a result of this it is increasingly important for businesses to follow the response and reactions of consumers to the various types of packaging that they encounter in the market. To this end, Woodway UK has developed its ‘PackRate®’ system to allow consumers to share their opinions regarding packaging, which provides an invaluable tool to Woodway and its clients in analysing the demands of the market regards to brand image and functionality. “PackRate® has been very successful and we have had thousands of people come to the site answer the questionnaire and leave comments, which helps us to develop a focused strategy that matches our customers’ requirements with the demands of the consumer,” Jason says. “We can analyse consumer concerns over packaging, damages, the delivery of parcels and the way in which products are packed. This helps us to reduce damages to fragile items and is a powerful tool in helping us to understand what is required to make packaging fit for purpose, while also helping us to educate consumers about the packaging itself.”

Woodway UK has enjoyed huge levels of success throughout 2016, through the award of multiple industry awards. The company was awarded Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) at the prestigious UK Packaging Awards held in the Grosvenor Hotel, London on the same night that the company was named Northampton Business of the Year and the runner-up for Barclays Business of the Year (over 50 employees). “We are very proud to receive these accolades. Our team work so hard to drive the business forward and ensure our customers receive excellent service and these awards are an acknowledgement of that,” Jason exclaims. “Earlier this year we were selected as one of 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe so to be recognised locally and nationally as well is a real testament to the hard work of all the Woodway team.”

During the coming years Woodway UK will look to build on its current success, while both the UK and the rest of the world wait to see the impact of Brexit across the market. “While I think that a lot of businesses have felt the impact of the fall of the pound against the euro and the dollar, it is impossible to know how Brexit will ultimately effect business,” Jason concludes. “There are certainly opportunities in the market and we will continue to innovate while maintaining close working relationships with our customers and potential customers. Naturally a huge part of our business is to understand what the next move will be for packaging and to adapt to this to offer new products to our clients.”

Woodway UK
Products: Unique packaging solutions