Furniture manufacturer Fuda-Hobart Rose has re-shored around 20% of its manufacturing back from China and expects to create 100 jobs in the process.
The North Shields-based firm used funding from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) to make the move which is expected to double sales from £8m to £16m.
Fuda-Hobart Rose produces furniture for the likes of Dunelm, John Lewis and Next and has now invested £250,000 into the new lines.
Around £285,000 investment from The Journal’s Let’s Grow fund has also helped to equip the firm, along with support from the Business Growth Service.
Executive chairman David Rose said: “The UK’s furniture manufacturing sector was decimated between 2000 and 2011 as a result of imports, so it’s great to be able to ‘home-shore’ certain products to the North East.
“Made in the UK is back in vogue with escalating freight costs and issues over quality making it a lot more competitive to manufacture in this country. Our customers are also looking for shorter lead times between the placing and delivery of orders, something that would be impossible if we were getting them made in the Far East.
“We needed additional support to set up production in just six months and received great assistance from MAS and consultants Oxford Holt Ltd, who are specialists in lean manufacturing and process improvement.
“There’s no way we could have done it so quickly on our own. I’m delighted to say we are now producing 20% of our total product range in the North East, with the long term plan to increase that to 60% by 2020.”
Business Growth manager Cameron Ross added: “Consumer choice has moved away from mass produced imports with long lead times towards a wider choice of styles and fabric options on furniture and furnishings that they expect to be delivered quicker. These expectations can’t be met when relying on offshore manufacturing sources.
“Fuda-Hobart Rose quickly recognised that the only way to satisfy this demand was to manufacture more products in the North East, a major challenge but one it has achieved in less than six months.
“We worked with the management team on identifying the right equipment, suppliers and processes that would allow them to be able to make products to order in a short timescale. This has already led to £1m of new sales, with the promise of more to come.”