After thirty years of loyal service to Bakers, we sat down with Production Manager Paul Sykes to talk about his career and life at the company across the decades.

Could you share some memorable milestones you’ve been a part of?

“Moving into digital printing in 2006 was massive. We were one of the first UK label printers to do it and that made a huge impact to the growth of the business. The move into digital flexible packaging with BakPac in 2020 has had the same exciting feeling as the move to digital print almost 20 years ago. When we invested in digital, that’s what subsequently pushed us to come here (Brentwood) and BakPac is that one now where yes, Labels has done brilliantly and still maintains that but BakPac’s going to give us that extra level.
The amount of investment we’ve had over the years, many years is what keeps us ahead of the game. Even this year we’ll exceed probably £2 million expanding BakPac’s capabilities. The security that the investment brings to staff is just phenomenal really and it future proofs us and the staff’s long-term futures.”

Moving to the new factory in Brentwood in 2011 was another turning point for both Paul and the company.

Following the factory move from Walthamstow to Brentwood Steve Baker gave Paul the opportunity to become Production Manager as part of the Senior Management Team,

“I knew I could count on Paul to step up. I trusted him 100% and knowing that I have that loyalty from him is just massive. It’s the most important thing. Paul’s strength has always been getting the work out. He understands that the best managers make sure the people working for them know what they’re doing and that’s what he does. What’s brilliant about Paul  is that he’s always looking to bring people on, push them and encourage them.”

Paul has fond memories of the old factory but acknowledges how the whole business changed with the move to Brentwood.

“We outgrew the factory in Walthamstow, and we operate differently now. We wouldn’t have had the success we have now if we were still in the old place. We have a different way of working now that wouldn’t work there. We never sit back after a successful week or month, we want to push push push all the time. We’re here to produce labels and we work hard to get the orders in and get the machines running.
Here in Brentwood we’ve also  been able to provide staff with fantastic facilities, including a gym and “Roy’s” our newest recreation space for pool, darts, table tennis and relaxing during breaks or after work.

Moving day from Walthamstow to Bakers

As Production Manager, what are some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them to ensure the company’s continued success?

“Managing the company through COVID was a big one!”

I’ll never forget Steve (Baker), Jamie (Doogan) and I sat down on a Friday afternoon in the office kitchen with a beer, just as it was announced that everyone had to stay at home and not go to work. For the first time it felt weird because we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, and that was surreal. It was a scary time for everyone but we went in work mode, and we were focused. When the chips are down, that’s when we are at our best. It’s because all of us want that same thing. and that’s the side of things that’s priceless. It’s when you look back at that situation now and you know we managed that well and we’ve gone from strength to strength since.
I look around at the team, every one of us have got different abilities, different skills. It works here and pound for pound, we are the best printers in the country. We are.

Steve Baker thanks Paul for 30 years

Paper Strike in Finland

“The strike in Finland was another one that was a milestone for me here. I don’t give myself much, but it was a big year where, against the odds, we managed to not only feed our own presses but managed to support a lot of companies through the uncertainty. Yes we got our rewards for it but customers don’t forget and still mention to us now that we helped them manage the situation. The main suppliers wouldn’t deal with you if you weren’t previously buying from them. So we did supply other label printers not only In this country, but into Europe. We had some really big customers that we managed to support.”

In your experience, what sets Bakers apart in the industry and how has the company maintained its competitive edge over the years?

“We’re always investing, always, always forward thinking always want to be the at the at the forefront with new innovation. We always want to be the first to have anything new, we do. That’s why we are often beta site or reference site for HP or AB Graphics. We want to know about anything that they’ve got coming through. Steve does a lot of research but he also has this gut feeling, he knows when and where to invest.


I’m very proud of the way that we get people come to us with stuff that they don’t want to do, or find too tricky or can’t do. We do those jobs and we do them well and I think that’s the key to how we have pushed the company forward. If we did straightforward stuff it’d be boring. We can do really long runs but that gets dull for the operators. We’ll embrace anything but the guys having these challenges of pushing the boundaries is what makes Bakers.

We have got a very good team. Yes, we’re always looking to add quality, but we have got strength in all areas but we obviously develop people.


One of the things I love is we train within which we wouldn’t have done before, not in the way we’re doing now. We continuously look to improve everyone’s skills and I think that’s quite unique. We’ve always done training, but it wasn’t anywhere like the last two or three years. Things are changing now in a good way. Where we didn’t have that structure of the training back then, now we have Bakers Academy, the platform for the training and the staff objectives. That’s all going to put us on to that next level.”

Jamie Doogan and Paul Sykes have a very close working relationship

It’s clear to those that work with him that being Bakers’ Production Manager is more than just a job to Paul, he’s put his heart and soul into the role.

Commercial Manager Jamie Doogan says of Paul, “Massive congratulations to Paul for this landmark. So happy for him professionally and personally. Paul is more than a colleague, he’s been like a brother, albeit and older one! 30 years show’s the loyalty and passion Paul has for this company. Well done mate..”

Can you reflect on your journey with Baker Labels over the past 30 years? What initially drew you to the company and what has kept you here for three decades?

What’s kept me here is the ethos of the company, the loyalty.
I know that if I was in trouble they’d be there for me. That goes back to when I first joined the company. Steve has been my boss from day dot as Roy was semi-retired by then. Roy and Marion Baker would still pop in and really created a family firm. They’d go out of their way to talk to you, ask about the family.

I’ve shared key moments of my life while working at Bakers so have a personal connection. The family feel is so important and it’s still got it today with both Harry and Tom Baker now on board…and they are going to take this company on to another level, which is very exciting. The company is going forward but you still got that family feel with the place which I think is very, very important and that’s what keeps people here.

Paul is more aware than most of how times have changed when it comes to managing the highs and lows of a busy factory,

“I am very passionate about Bakers. I’ve been here 30 years and any successes or failures I feel very personally.”

Phil Smith, Steve Baker, Paul Sykes and Jamie Doogan. Bakers Senior Managemnt Team