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Manufacturing Success in South Humber: An Interview with Jeremy Hodson, Managing Director, Ultimate Packaging

12:26 pm, Monday, 3rd June 2019 - 5 years ago

Jeremy Hodson talks about why Grimsby is the perfect location for their manufacturing business, and the benefits of being part of the well-established South Humber manufacturing cluster.

Ultimate Packaging is an independent, family run business that develops and produces innovative packaging solutions for the food industry. They supply all the major supermarkets and are experts in producing packaging with special characteristics. Their packaging may extend the shelf life of fresh food, have a tactile finish, open easily or peel and reseal.

Why is the business located in South Humber?

The company was based at four different locations in Lincolnshire and the Humber area, and in 1999 decided to relocate operations to a single site.

“We wanted to move to a new location without losing our existing workforce”. Jeremy says. “We consolidated onto one site and took advantage of a regional development grant to become the first business on Europarc, a specialist food industry business park in Grimsby”.

What are the advantages of South Humber as a location for manufacturing businesses?

When choosing a location for their manufacturing business, road infrastructure and costs were key factors.

“The strong history of food processing and of manufacturing in the area was attractive to us as a food-related manufacturing business,” Jeremy says. “It is an excellent location in terms of access to the motorway network and the £40 million investment in road infrastructure improvements is bringing further benefits.”

“Costs in Grimsby are very reasonable too, so it is a good location for us as well as for our staff. There is also room for businesses to grow – since 1999, we have expanded from 80 employees and a turnover of £10 million to a business with 250 staff and a turnover of nearly £50 million.”

What is your experience of the local workforce?

Ultimate Packaging have no trouble recruiting staff and once they join the company they are very likely to stay.

“Our workforce is very loyal so we have a low staff turnover. The cost of labour is competitive and there are plenty of skills in the area,” says Jeremy. “We are also aiming to develop staff skills in-house, and working with Grimsby Institute to develop a formal scheme for our apprentices. Our staff are very capable and committed too and many want to progress, so that’s another reason to want to develop the in-house training programme”.

What are the benefits to you of belonging to a highly developed manufacturing cluster?

“Being part of the manufacturing cluster means we have access to services we need – we work with local companies wherever possible, particularly when it comes to distribution.” Jeremy adds, “the local Chamber of Commerce is very helpful as is the local Council and we work very closely with them. We’ve found the inward investment team to be very helpful and knowledgeable.”

“Most of our work is for the big supermarkets but we also work with smaller brands in the local area and have worked with Young’s (based in Grimsby) for a number of years”.

Would you recommend South Humber as a UK location for manufacturing businesses?

As far as Jeremy is concerned the question is a no brainer.

“Yes, I would” Jeremy says. “The workforce is loyal and capable, the road network is excellent, support services are good and plentiful, warehousing is in good supply, the manufacturing cluster works well together and costs in the area are reasonable. It’s a great location.”