Jobs could be lost at Cramlington's Mayborn Group as work outsourced to the Midlands

The owners of the successful Tommee Tippee brand said they need a "suitable location for its growing European business"

Tommee Tippee's weighted base cups were first introduced to the UK market in 1965
Tommee Tippee's weighted base cups were first introduced to the UK market in 1965

A number of jobs at a well-known North East firm are set to be outsourced to the Midlands as it grows into foreign markets.

Baby products firm Mayborn Group, which is headquartered in Cramlington and owns the Tommy Tippee brand, has confirmed it is reviewing its warehousing and logistics strategy, a move which will potentially relocate its UK warehousing to the Midlands.

The firm said a “rigorous” tendering process has been carried out and, under the proposals, the work would potentially be taken on by Birmingham-based iForce Ltd.

iForce, a logistics solutions business for retailers and manufacturers, is run by chief executive Brian Gaunt, who has also been a non-executive director of Mayborn Group since 2013.

Directors said those affected - thought to be around 35 posts - are eligible for internal redeployment.

They said the rationale behind the move has been to put the company’s warehouse operations at the heart of its UK customers’ distribution hub and ensure it has a suitable location for its growing European business.

Mayborn Group has owned the Tommee Tippee name since acquiring the original product from a US inventor in 1965 and has since expanded the brand to include bottles, soothers, cups and nappy disposal systems.

Following investment by private equity firm 3i in 2006, the firm has grown its overseas sales and export sales now account for 60% of all sales, a figure it expects to grow.

The firm, which has production facilities in Mansfield, Morocco and China, already has operations in the US, France and Australia and is investing for future expansion in areas including China, Russia, South Africa and Middle East.

Chief executive Steve Parkin said: “Over the past five years Mayborn has enjoyed significant growth, and we’ve evolved from a UK based company to become a truly global business.

“It’s vital that we’re ready to meet our customers’ demands today and in the future – not just in the UK but in Europe and worldwide. This potential move would deliver greater agility and flexibility for our customers and suppliers.”

After a rigorous tendering exercise, Mayborn said it had identified specialist retail and manufacturing logistics company iForce as a potential outsource provider for its warehousing service, should the move go ahead.

Mr Parkin said: “At present the decision to relocate the Cramlington warehouse operations to the Midlands has not been finalised and we are in consultation with employees and the GMB union.

“Should we sign a contract with the proposed new supplier, up to 35 people at Cramlington may be impacted. Employees would be protected under TUPE should they wish to relocate and, of course, eligible for suitable internal redeployment opportunities.

“We hope that a decision on this will be made by May. The HQ is not affected and we continue to grow our global team.

“Brian Gaunt is a non-executive director of Mayborn Group, brought in for his wealth of supply chain experience.

“As a board member, integral in contributing to our global growth strategy, Brian Gaunt has not been involved in any decision to award the contract. The proposal was reached after a thorough tendering process.

“We’re continuing to invest in our global team, with over 30 new appointments in Cramlington over the past 18 months.”

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