Made in London’s Top 20!
#10 Kesslers International LTD
Extracted from Made in London:
Kesslers is one of London’s most admired manufacturers. It designs and produces point-of-sale displays in its purpose built 130,000 square foot plant in Stratford, a stone’s throw away from the Olympic Village, employing more than 250 people. The directors, brothers Charles and George Kessler, are grandees of the London manufacturing scene. I asked Charles, who runs the sales side of the business, why the firm still manufactures in London. “Why not!” he cries. “We have a tremendous amount of expertise here, making technically sophisticated products. We are very close to our clients, geographically as well as emotionally. We have very loyal staff and customers. You can’t just pick up all that and move it.”
George, who runs the operational side of Kesslers, says the only real problem is recruitment – the firm is constantly expanding and needs to hire staff with niche technical skills. The solution? Apprenticeships. “We have been runner up in the Best Apprentice Employer three times,” says George. “We are bloody good at it.” He says the scheme has helped young Londoners learn technical skills, and the more experienced workers have benefited by mentoring the apprentices.
London 2012 helped too. “We were on the edge of the Western world,” recalls Charles. “We have the Olympic stadium and Westfield shopping centre. You step out the door onto the latest of everything.” As he said: why on earth would they want to be anywhere else?