The new £2.5M new factory, incorporating a new noodle line, reached full production in the first quarter of 2014, after becoming operational last November. The firm announced its intention last year to relocate noodle production from its two plants in China – one in Guangzhou province, in the south of the country, and one in Hangzhou, in the east.
Speaking at the official opening of the new factory Henrik Pade, Symington’s business development director, explained the benefits of reshoring production. “By moving our noodle production to Leeds, we have significantly shortened our supply chain. It used to take between eight to 10 weeks to source noodles from China and with this strategic business move we can be more responsive to customer orders and deliver new promotions at short notice,” he said.
‘Another 75 jobs’
Pade said the business had created about 500 new jobs in Leeds, to reach its present total of 800 employees, across all the firm’s production plants over the past six years. “We expect to see this growth continue in the coming years, and believe another 75 jobs will be created over the next 12 months,” he added.
Hilary Benn, Labour member of Parliament for Leeds Central, who opened the factory, praised the firm’s investment in Britain. “It’s great to see new jobs being created in Hunslet which will help boost the local economy. Symington’s is an excellent example of innovation in British manufacturing.
“I am delighted to be here today to officially open the site and to recognise the commitment and hard work of all the employees who have brought this project to life.”
New jobs created at the factory include six enhanced machine operator roles. The aim was to develop a team capable of completing all the tasks necessary to run the noodle line including: set up, basic maintenance and controlling the production process, said Symington’s HR director Michelle Williams.
‘Invested in training’
“We took a strategic decision to upskill this role [from traditional machine operation] within the Hunslet factory,” said Williams. “We’ve invested in training these individuals so that they can train other operators and are equipped to lead our continuous improvement teams across the wider business.”
Noodles from the Hunslet factory line are used in about 100 products including Golden Wonder, The Nation’s Noodle and the Naked Noodle brands and are mainly for UK consumption.
The new factory is predicted to generate turnover of more than £15M.
Symington’s won praise from prime minister David Cameron at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in February. “A recent survey of small and medium-sized businesses found that one-in-10 has brought back to Britain some production in the past year,” said Cameron. “The food manufacturer Symington’s is moving a factory from China to Leeds.”
Meanwhile, for the latest vacancies in food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs.