The machines were customised and supplied by R J Herbert Engineering Ltd based in Marshland St James and funded by Lombard, the asset finance provider.
The family business is run by Tony Lee in conjunction with his two sons Stephen and Robert and daughter Sarah and is based around Ely in Cambridgeshire. Today they currently farm in excess of 10,000 acres with over 2,000 acres being potatoes. While the potato business supplies processing, wholesaling and packing markets, the majority of the crop supplies high-grade chipping potatoes to the frying trade. The company continues to expand its customer base in the UK and Ireland, and the increase in sales has lead to the demand for this latest investment. Ongoing investment is essential to ensure they can offer reliability and consistency of supply and further grow the business.
R J Herbert Engineering has specifically adapted the three machines so they meet the particular requirements of A L Lee & Sons including ease of transport across their multiple sites. The designs increase efficiencies, cleaning and separation operations and importantly also allow the machines to be adaptable to British weather conditions throughout the crucial harvest period. The company chose the machines from R J Herbert as they are local, provide quality machinery known for reliability and provide good after-sales service.
Lombard was introduced to fund the machines on a hire purchase basis, with the final investment totalling £650,000.
Tony Lee, commenting on the investment said: "This was needed because demand continues to grow for our services. This harvest has really shown the benefit of this investment, allowing us to collect and cultivate more potatoes in a quick and efficient manner. It allows us to fulfil our orders swiftly and increase our capacity which has fed through to increased volumes of orders."
Hiten Sonpal, relationship manager at Lombard added: "The three Contractor II machines make a big difference to the business and by using hire purchase to fund the machines it is a wise financial move for the business and its operational costs. They have the benefit and revenue generation of the machines without having to eat into any cash reserves or existing banking facilities to pay for them."