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Bed-maker invests $2.5m in S.I. market


Bed-maker invests $2.5m in S.I. market

Refurbished Sleepyhead plant creates six new jobs in Christchurch

Christchurch gets what is being called the most modern bed manufacturing plant in the southern hemisphere when the newly-refurbished Sleepyhead factory in Hornby reaches full capacity later this year.

The 6,000 sq m facility has been completely gutted and a modern production line installed in a $2.5 million, eight-month renovation project due for completion in November.

The plant expansion has resulted in six new jobs for Christchurch within the factory’s 50-strong workforce. Product delivery times are expected to be slashed from up to eight weeks to a matter of five or six days, the company says.

Sleepyhead director Graeme Turner says machinery for the new plant is “state of the art” and has been imported from Spain, Germany, Italy and the United States.

“In fact, our initial thought was to close the factory it was so out of date,” Mr Turner says. “But when we did the sums, it made sense to invest the money and go with the refurbishment.”

Mr Turner says there are very good reasons for the decision.

“Primarily we need to increase production capacity to keep pace with demand for our products.

“The mainland accounts for about 30 per cent of our New Zealand business. If we had shut down the old plant we would have had extra freight costs getting products to the South Island.

“And with only one New Zealand manufacturing plant – in Auckland – we would have been exposed in the event of an unplanned shut-down. Now with two modern plants we are better able to meet delivery schedules and we’re not reliant on Auckland alone.”

Mr Turner says the refurbished plant will be the most modern bed manufacturing plant south of the equator.

“We really needed to increase capacity to meet demand – New Zealand’s population is growing, people are becoming more conscious of the need to change their mattresses every 10 years and as a consequence Sleepyhead is expanding.

“We are especially pleased to be able to increase our investment in the South Island – it’s a very important market for Sleepyhead. No other bed-maker to my knowledge has ever invested this sort of money in a South Island plant.

“Being able to supply virtually our full range from there also helps free up Auckland production for North Island customers,” he says.

Mr Turner says the only downside is that the company will have to look at upgrading its Auckland plant to keep pace with the new Christchurch facility.

“In Auckland we had a major upgrade when we moved to Otahuhu in 1997 and we built an even more modern factory in Brisbane in 2001. I imagine we’re going to have to look at our Auckland factory again soon.”

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