In a strategic move aimed at streamlining operations and driving growth, Jamaican Teas Limited has disclosed its plans to relocate its manufacturing facilities to Temple Hall, St Andrew.
The tea maker recently finalized an agreement to acquire a property encompassing approximately 60,000 square feet of factory buildings on about three acres of land in Temple Hall, situated about four miles north of Stony Hill.
The new property will serve as the centralised location for housing Jamaican Teas’ current manufacturing facilities, which are presently located at Bell Road and Montgomery Avenue in St Andrew.
John Mahfood, the CEO of Jamaican Teas, expressed his enthusiasm for the consolidation, highlighting the significant cost-saving benefits and ample space for expanding production over the next five years.
“The move to consolidate operations in one facility will save the company more than $30 million per year,” said Mahfood in an interview with Loop News.
He explained that operating from two locations entails extra expenses for rent, security, and goods transportation, making the shift to a single location highly desirable.
“When you operate from two locations you are paying extra rent and security, you have to transport goods between locations, so it’s not desirable. This location will give us the extra space for us to grow and save money by consolidating in one location”, said Mahfood.
At present, the company operates across two locations, occupying approximately 35,000 square feet. The new facility’s expanded capacity will not only support the company’s growth but also streamline operations, leading to improved efficiency.
To meet the heightened production demands resulting from this move, Jamaican Teas will invest in additional equipment. The CEO anticipates that the expansion will necessitate the hiring of around 20 more employees, supplementing the current staff complement of 90.
Acknowledging the potential commuting challenges for existing staff due to the relocation to the hills of St Andrew, Mahfood assured that the company would provide transportation support. He also noted the advantage of attracting skilled and entry-level workers from the local population residing in the area.
“On one hand our existing staff will find it more difficult to get to work, and so we will have to provide transportation”, Mahfood said. “On the other hand, there is a pretty large population up in that area who have to travel to the industrial area of Spanish Town Road to work, and who will probably find it convenient to work for a local company up in that area”.
Jamaican Teas, like many other companies, is facing labour shortages in the current economic landscape. Securing an existing factory facility not only saves valuable time but also addresses the scarcity of available factory space in the Kingston/Spanish Town area.
According to the company’s second-quarter results to March 2023, net profit attributable to Jamaican Teas for the quarter was $58 million, a modest decline from the $62 million profit in the previous year’s quarter.
However, the Manufacturing Division registered increases in both local and export sales 14 per cent in the quarter with exports accounting for 64 per cent of total sales.
The CEO said the company will need to buy additional equipment to meet production demands.
The newly acquired facility’s history traces back to its previous use as a soup factory operated by GraceKennedy.
Jamaican Teas is renowned for producing a range of teas under its widely-known brands, Tetley Jamaica, and Caribbean Dreams.
With the upcoming consolidation of its manufacturing facilities, the company is poised for further expansion, enhanced efficiency, and continued success in the competitive market.