Based in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, YPS was founded in 1977 and initially operated under the name Yorkshire Packaging Supplies. In the early days, the firm specialised in providing PVC shrink films and refurbished shrink-wrapping machines. The 1980's brought turbulent times following the loss of its biggest customer but YPS was able to weather the storm and carry on.
The decision was made in the 1990's to change the name from ‘Supplies’ to ‘Systems’, to properly reflect the changing nature of the business, a move that managing director Glyn Johnson described as having “quite a dramatic impact on the sale of machines, which impacted the sales of materials”.
In 2001, YPS reached achieved another milestone with the exclusive agreement to supply premium polyolefin shrink film brand Bollore in the UK. The company started importing shrink-wrap machinery and began to grow that side of the business, which Glyn described as a “catalyst” to increase material sales.
Glyn says YPS has “gone from strength to strength” in the years since with the expansion of marketing and sales teams and the acquisition of manufacturing business, Camline, which was incorporated into the YPS premises.
“We now manufacture around a million pounds of our own equipment, which is predominantly palletisers,” Glyn added.
Speaking on the firm’s business strategy, Glyn said, “We took a view that you’ve either got to try and be the best or the lowest cost and all our competition pretty much tend to focus on cost and being the cheapest and we just can’t do that so we focus on trying to be the best value for money proposition.''
''To do that, our equipment isn’t the lowest cost but every machine comes with a service contract. None of our competition offers that and the reason we took that view is because we’re not just a machinery supplier; we want to develop. The end of a machine transaction is the start of a relationship, we hope, on the supply of film.''
“A lot of our competition has diversified into other areas. I think the biggest challenge is to keep focused when sometimes it’s easy to think to diversify is the right way forward – so we just try and do the same things, just do more of it and do it in a more focused way.”
Reflecting on the firm’s history, Glyn said, “To use the metaphor of a teenager – it had a shaky childhood, nearly didn’t get out of its teenage years but has grown pretty well since and now its maturing into a sensible, stable business.”
While YPS has a number of long serving staff, the firm has also embraced youth by taking on young staff and training them from the ground up through apprenticeships into key members of the YPS team.
“We took a view five or six years ago we’re better off growing our own and it’s definitely the way forward, no question. In the last five years we’ve doubled in size in terms of sales. We’ve also taken on apprenticeships on the engineering side,” Glyn said.
YPS was recognised for its outstanding customer service with a PPMA award in 2014 and the following year, Glyn’s father, company chairman David Johnson received the PPMA lifetime Achievement Award.
In summing up the YPS ethos, Glyn said it came down to one thing – trust. “We want customers to trust us, we want to trust customers, we’re honest, we’re a family business and we try and do the best we can. We’re very proud to have been in business for 40 years and we want to be in business for the next 40 years.”