When Norman Macfarlane founded his commercial stationery business, N.S. Macfarlane & Co Limited, on 26th April 1949, after being demobbed following his National Service, he couldn’t have known that it would develop into the very significant business that it is today.
Now, as it celebrates its 70th birthday this week, Macfarlane Group PLC is a fully listed company on the UK Stock Market and the UK leader in the distribution of protective packaging materials, the design and manufacture of protective packaging and the printing of self-adhesive and resealable labels.
Lord Macfarlane was knighted in 1983 and became a peer, Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden, in 1991 and a Knight of the Thistle in 1996. He retired as Chairman of Macfarlane Group in 1998 having created one of the UK’s most admired “small cap” businesses.
From its humble beginnings in a single roomed office in Bath Street, Glasgow, Macfarlane Group has grown significantly over the decades and today supplies in excess of 50,000 product lines to 20,000 industrial and retail customers in the UK, Europe and the USA. It has 1,000 suppliers and employs almost 900 people across its 30 sites. The business continues to prosper, with its 2018 results heralding its ninth consecutive year of profitable growth, at a compound annual growth rate of 14%. This has been supported by the acquisition of a number of businesses over that period, including Network Packaging, Nelsons for Cartons & Packaging, Greenwood Stock Boxes and most recently, in 2018, Tyler Packaging (Leicester) and Harrison’s Packaging.
Macfarlane Packaging Distribution is the UK market leader in the supply of protective packaging materials to industrial and retail businesses. Customers realise efficiency and cost benefits through Macfarlane’s expertise in pack design, the breadth of its supplier base, its stock and serve business model and its ability to provide independent guidance and advice.
Macfarlane Design and Manufacture provides bespoke protective packaging to industrial customers requiring high levels of protection for expensive, fragile and sensitive products. Through its specialist design and manufacturing skills the business helps customers to reduce the cost of damages and improve their operational efficiency.
Macfarlane Labels designs and prints self-adhesive and resealable labels for FMCG customers to ensure their brands are perfectly presented every time.
Commenting on the anniversary, Peter Atkinson, Chief Executive of Macfarlane Group said: “One of the key strengths of our business, which was instilled by Lord Macfarlane from the beginning, is that customers are at the heart of everything we do. It is this focus on the customer that has enabled the business to grow and prosper.
“At this important milestone for the business we would like to thank our customers and suppliers for the trust they place in us and for their continued support. The commitment and diligence of our people have been critical to our success and we look forward to many more years helping our customers to find the best products and services for their businesses. The official 70th anniversary date falls on 26th April and we’ll be marking this date with celebrations across our sites.”
The enthusiasm and energy of Macfarlane Group’s people working around the country to support its customers is recognised in a video that has been produced to mark the anniversary: https://vimeo.com/315220454