A world leader
We have long prided ourselves on being a world leader in manufacturing technology. WD & HO Wills began the trend back in 1883 by introducing a cigarette-making machine that could produce around 200 cigarettes a minute. At the time it was hailed as revolutionary. Today, our fastest machines can produce around 14,000 cigarettes a minute. We have moved towards an increasingly automated internal supply chain to maintain the highest possible production rate. Our investment in product design and innovative processing techniques continues to make us one of the world's lowest cost producers of tobacco products.
Our manufacturing operations globally drive continuous improvement in quality, supply reliability and occupational health, safety & environment whilst maintaining cost leadership. The network of factories produces all products including cigars and cigarettes as well as roll your own, make your own and pipe tobaccos, in addition to tubes, filters and rolling paper products. The factories are grouped in regions around 'Leading Factories', which provide support in the sharing of best practice to the other factories of the region.
Efficiency and competitiveness
At key locations around the world, we have invested in state-of-the-art equipment, further improving efficiency, flexibility and competitiveness.
We have a consistent benchmarking system across our factories covering all aspects of manufacturing. This gives us significant opportunity to review and balance our total supply chain activity, while retaining the flexibility to react quickly to changing market conditions. This is an area from which we expect to gain significant benefit over the coming years.
Our factories around the world benefit from shared technology and expertise, leading to reduced manufacturing costs. We focus on high quality, low-cost manufacturing and have an ongoing drive to improve productivity across the business. Quality, flexibility and innovation are key in all of our facilities.
Conditioning and blending tobacco is the first stage of our manufacturing process. We have invested heavily in advanced techniques in this area with a view to improving quality, cutting waste and speeding up production.
Common quality standards and measures
Simplification and rationalisation of product portfolios and packaging are areas of focus. This is aligned with our focus on business quality, which is supported by accreditations according to ISO norms in the areas of quality, environment and health & safety across numerous factories.