Restructured UKG Brings Manufacturing Home To The UK For 40% Of Everyday Cards

Having undergone its first complete restructure in very many years, UK Greetings (UKG) is now a much more “customer-centric business”.

The publisher is also upping production in the UK by bringing 40% of production of its everyday greeting cards back to UK shores. Prior to this, all production was in the Far East.

“Reshoring production to the UK means that we be more responsive to customer needs, reduce our lead times, improve our environmental footprint and support British suppliers,” commented Ceri Stirlandcustomer and channel director of UKG.

Plus, preparing for the worse case scenario of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ UK Greeting has revealed it has built up a stockpile of cards. Ceri confirmed to PG Buzz: “We have built up stocks of approximately eight weeks in order to ensure continuity of supply to our customers in the event of no deal Brexit.”

Above: UKG’s Ceri Stirland (left) with Jayne Myers (centre) who took the decision to leave the business prior to the restructure but continued as commercial director in the transition and Lois Holcroft.
Above: UKG’s Ceri Stirland (left) with Jayne Myers (centre) who took the decision to leave the business prior to the restructure but continued as commercial director in the transition and Lois Holcroft.

Commenting on its new structure, which is anchored around full customer-focused teams, Ceri stated: “The new structure ensures we now have a very robust, sustainable business with our customers right at its heart.”

She points out that other than the enforced partial restructure in 2016 when Hallmark took over as category manager for Tesco, which had been UKG’s biggest customer, the publisher has not made any major changes to its structure for many years.

Above: Some 40% of UKG’s everyday cards are now being produced in the UK, including the new Azul range under its Kindred brand.
Above: Some 40% of UKG’s everyday cards are now being produced in the UK, including the new Azul range under its Kindred brand.

“All companies need to future-proof their businesses in order to be fair to their employees, customers and suppliers,” Ceri told PG Buzz.

The restructure involved, what Ceri admits was a “difficult consultation period” as the new shape affected all departments. The restructure affected 75 roles, which would equate to 15% of UKG’s workforce, however in actuality it resulted in a loss of 10% jobs. Accepting the human cost, Ceri said, “Though necessary, undergoing the restructure was upsetting as it affected so many amazing people in our business. I am so glad that we were able to find new roles for some within UKG, be able to promote others and that so many are remaining in the industry having found roles elsewhere.”

Above: Darren Cave, UKG’s director of field sales is now one of the company’s senior leadership team, highlighting the importance of the independent channel.
Above: Darren Cave, UKG’s director of field sales is now one of the company’s senior leadership team, highlighting the importance of the independent channel.

The new structure has seen the creation of seven strategic account management team directors, each of which will be responsible for a key UKG customer/group.

UKG’s commitment to the independent retailer has also been elevated in the business’ new shape with Darren Cave, who heads up the publisher’s dedicated independent division now joining the company’s leadership team alongside Ceri and other senior directors responsible for creative, operations, finance, IT and HR. All of the leadership team report into James Conn, who took over as ceo of UK Greetings on 1 March 2018.

Above: Rachel Woods (left), has been promoted to become one of the seven strategic account management team directors.
Above: Rachel Woods (left), has been promoted to become one of the seven strategic account management team directors.

Top: UKG announced its plans to restructure in November last year. 

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