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MD of Cell Pack Solutions talks business growth during pandemic and being a founding member of AMF.

Eddie Czestochowski, managing director of South Tyneside based, Cell Pack Solutions, talks business growth during the pandemic and reflects back on being a member of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum, from day one.

Established in 1998, Cell Pack Solutions began as a sole trader in Tedco, Jarrow and by July 2013, having outgrown the space available, the company moved into its purpose-built premises in South Shields. This met the demand of an increasing headcount and the team was able to improve and expand on its production line.

As a custom battery pack manufacturer, Cell Pack Solutions, has provided power solutions for a wide range of market sectors for over 20 years, including, utilities, security, tracking, Internet of Things (IOT), oceanographic, medical, monitoring, environmental and the media industry.

Its services include custom battery packs, industrial and specialist battery distribution and battery chargers. Customers can also purchase consumer, industrial and specialist cells from its Online Shop. In 2021, in the middle of the global pandemic, the company acquired lithium battery manufacturer, Tracer.

The 30-strong company has an impressive customer portfolio having worked with Google, Northumbrian Water, Johnson & Allen, Environment Agency, NHS, Durham Constabulary, Halma and many more.

Eddie, said: “Having been a member of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum from its conception and when it was known as the South Tyneside Manufacturing Forum, it has proved to be a great support. To be surrounded by people in those early days who had so much knowledge and insight, really was invaluable.

“Infact, it was a member of the forum who presented me with the opportunity of available land following a conversation about wanting to build our own factory. Had I not been a member of the AMF, I wouldn’t have known about the location and may well have had to move out of South Tyneside to accommodate our growth plans.

“Like most organisations, the pandemic was initially a time of uncertainty, but we kept our focus, and much credit must go to the team. We look to invest in each colleague individually – enabling them to pursue qualifications that can enhance their learning and as a group. Throughout 2020, we completed the Silver Better Health at Work Award, attended 45 training courses, introduced two apprenticeship schemes, trained two mental health first aiders, and welcomed five new employees to the team.

“During this time, we also expanded our production area with the inclusion of new materials and equipment.

“Like many organisations globally, we are a sustainable manufacturer, and we continually address and review requirements when it comes to the environment. By way of example, in 2013, we incorporated features within our factory to minimise energy consumption, in 2016 we installed 69 solar panels and in 2019, we upgraded our emergency lighting to LED. We are also working on a battery plant project to store energy.

“In 2021, we completed the acquisition of the Tracer Power Division of Deben Group Industries Ltd, specialists in lithium battery solutions and we moved its products and operations to South Shields. The acquisition opened us up to a global market.

“A year later, we now have a global customer database which expands across 30 countries. Previously, our customers were based in the UK, operating within industrial, utility, security and medical sectors.

“The last 12 months has been very much a period of learning, having had little exporting experience, the effects of Brexit and Covid have been a challenge.

“Moving forward, we want to continue our growth plans and by 2025, we want to build an extension to our existing site. We want to continue our great strides to promote a green workplace, build on and support the community in which we operate and to employ, retain and develop a workforce from within the borough.”

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