Leeds manufacturer moves into new factory to keep up with demand

Healthcare manufacturer Herida is moving to a new factory twice the size of its former one to keep up with demand.

Herida's Neil Smith (left) and John Bentley (right).

Leeds-based Herida Healthcare is relocating to a 30,000 sq ft unit in Morley as it expands its markets and products. It will hold an official opening on Wednesday, November 20.

The company, which started trading in 2016, manufactures specialist mattresses for the elderly and infirm to avoid pressure sores.

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Its foam and air-pump mattresses are sold to community equipment stores, NHS trusts and long-term care homes through a dealer network across the UK. Around 25 per cent of its products are exported, mainly to Australasia.

The factory move has led to an extra six jobs, bringing the headcount to 42, with plans to increase that number significantly with the introduction of shift working within the next two or three years.

Founder Neil Smith said: “As many businesses are pulling out of manufacturing, we are moving up. We know that by being agile and quick to respond to demand we have a competitive advantage and can be profitable.”

Mr Smith said the rapid growth of the company is partly due to support from the public sector, with advice and grants from organisations such as Leeds Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Ad:Venture, a business support programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“The grants have helped us buy equipment and become more efficient in the manufacturing process and that can be the difference between a business thriving or not surviving at all,” said Mr Smith.

Sarah Carling, Ad:Venture programme manager, said: “Herida Healthcare is a fantastic success story that shows that the public and private sectors really can work hand in hand to bring prosperity and jobs, and boost the local economy.”

Herida Healthcare is moving five miles to the new factory at Leeds 27 Industrial Estate, partly because the company wanted to keep as many as possible of its skilled workforce.

To coincide with the move Mr Smith has passed over the reins to a new managing director, John Bentley, who joined the company two months ago, bringing experience in the wound care sector with brands such as Smith & Nephew. Mr Smith will stay on as chairman.

In addition, David Emmerson joins Herida Healthcare as the head of operations from Johnson & Johnson. The fourth director is co-founder John Kay.

Mr Bentley said: “It really is an exciting time to join, as this is a company on the up and up.

“The existing team has done a great job by bringing the business from conception, a little over three and a half years ago, to that of a very profitable, large-scale, British-

manufacturing outfit, serving a global customer base. The brand new factory means our long term prospects are excellent.”