Making its mark
Blending innovation and knowledge, Maker Industrial offers a range of liquid and powder mixing options in order to create custom formulations to serve its customers’ complex requirements
By forming close working relationships with its customers in order to provide custom formulations that enhance their own portfolio of products, Maker Industrial (Maker) has established itself as a leading confidential contract Toll manufacturer, boasting a customer base of market-leading companies operating within the UK’s paint, paper, plastics and construction chemicals industries.
Part of the Rakem Group, a unique group of suppliers and distributors of speciality raw materials to the paper, coating, plastics, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries, Maker was spun out as a result of paradigm shift within said industries. As Managing Director Kieran Rafferty explains, “traditionally, one of our largest sources of income has been the paper industry, which for a long time we supplied with a unique slurry form of raw materials. In 2000, an influx of cheaper paper from the Far East resulted in the closure of many of the paper mills in the UK, leaving Rakem with a lot of capacity, manpower and experience to put to use. Pulling together the knowledge and innovative thinking that we possessed allowed us to begin developing new product solutions and embark on a number of new revenue streams.”
One such example was the development of a product used for the painting of white lines around sports pitches. Unlike the typical forms of this paint, which for every one-litre of paint required nine-litres of water for mixing in order to cover a standard football pitch, Maker developed a two-litre formula that would not require any water at all to cover the same area. The success of this innovation allowed for the investment in a new bottling plant, a dedicated R&D department, and ultimately the spinning out of Maker as its own brand.
“With Maker now established as its own entity, it was my job to take the success we had with paint and see what other products and formulations we could create,” Kieran continues. “Wanting to keep everything water-based, because of its inert nature, we choose to leverage the vast range of Rakem specialisms to begin developing high quality, reliable and unique products.”
What Kieran quickly concluded, however, was that while he and his team were more than capable of creating products that matched or even bettered those of its competitors, the Maker name lacked the brand awareness of the larger players whose own marketing and advertising budgets were too vast to compete with. Where Maker could excel though was in offering its services to established brands to create products they lacked within their own portfolio, and then allowing them to retain their own branding. A great example of this model that Kieran points to is the way that large food manufacturers often produce goods that retailers can market under their own brand names.
This was the turning point for the company to become the confidential Toll manufacturer it is today, and in turn resulted in the formation of another business, dubbed Hydropak, which acts as the sales and distribution arm of Maker, marketing its products today to a rich list of customers including major brands, builder’s merchants and independents. “As recently as three years ago we had just a single person working in a small lab, whereas today we have spent a considerable sum to refurbish and develop our own sales and innovation centre, which houses around 3000 square feet of R&D space,” Kieran adds. “We do not want to stop there, however, and we will continue to invest in these capabilities to stay ahead of the curve.”
Investment will also continue in Maker’s manufacturing and production facilities. Across approximately 23,000 square feet of space, the company has a bottling capacity of some five million litres, and it can bottle anything from single-litre bottles up to 28,000-litre tankers.
“We have at our disposal various mixing vessels mixing different liquid formulations, from 500-litres up to 10,000-litres, and this when coupled with our bottling capabilities provide us with a high degree of flexibility to develop both small and large product batches as required,” Kieran says. “We are also now beginning to look into introducing powder mixing capabilities, which is a different challenge altogether, but one we are excited to tackle.”
One of the reasons for this planned move into powder mixing came last year when Maker was approached by sister company Cemkem, to manufacture its unique lithium carbonate blend, Lithkem. “One of the benefits of being part of a larger group, is not only the support from our sister company Rakem, regarding raw materials but the fact we can manufacture to our own high quality standards a unique product for Cemkem which is about to change the construction chemical market.”
There are no other toll manufacturers like Maker Industrial, as not only do they have complete control over raw materials, working with sister company Rakem for the best delivery and price but access to a group technical, research and marketing team, with vast experience in several consumable sectors.
From a Maker perspective, Kieran is now pushing ahead with ensuring that what he has is the most efficient business possible so that it can fulfil the potential he feels it has. “We want to be the industry’s first choice and thoughts when it comes to developing products that they currently lack in their portfolio,” he proclaims. “Our number one goal will always remain making sure that our people leave here each day safe and sound, but at the same time we are a family business and that means we are constantly looking at how best to set the foundations for future generations to ensure that Maker remains a strong, reliable and sought-after company for many years to come.”
Services: Confidential Toll manufacturer