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Hyde Sails expand production facility in Cebu, Philippines

by Hyde Sails on 22 Jun 2005
The Hyde Sails Cebu loft dinghy section © Hyde Sails

Hyde Sails Cebu Loft is situated on Mactan Island, which lies close to Cebu City on Cebu Island, a site chosen following considerable research. Cebu is the main centre of the garment industry in the Philippines and this ensures a pool of well-trained labour. Mactan has three Special Economic Zones sponsored by the Government to encourage foreign investment. Businesses located within these special areas benefit from tax-free importing and exporting of goods with minimum Customs formalities. Cebu has a deep-water seaport and an international airport, both within five miles of the loft. Furthermore, English is very widely spoken and is the main language of government; this is a huge advantage in training and general communication, both internally and externally. Another key element in this choice of location is that Cebu lies to the south of the typhoon belt and rarely suffers from extreme weather, apart from the ubiquitous heat of the tropics. There are also no volcanoes! The political climate in Cebu is much less volatile than in the other main islands of the Philippines.

Hyde Sails began production in Cebu in October 2003, continuing the well-established practices developed over thirty-five years in the UK. By October 2004 all production had moved out to the large state-of-the-art facility. The loft now produces everything from Oppie sails to 100-foot yacht sails, and includes Hyde brand, O.E.M. and subcontract work. Although all production is now under one roof, the loft is subdivided into eight sections which allows close management; Yacht, One Design, Spinnaker, O.E.M., Small Sails, Accessories, Cutting, Screen Print, and Administration. The equipment chosen for each section is tailored to perfectly suit the type of work that is carried out.

Hyde’s Managing Director, Mike Lennon, and Cebu Loft General Manager, Ian Flanders head the facility. Both veterans of sail making, between them they have worked for Hyde Sails for nearly forty years. Hyde Cebu currently employs one hundred staff. The loft is approaching the end of its second year of production and, in that time, has produced 20,000 sails, including sails that competed in the 2004 Olympics. Quality is the watchword and the team have introduced methods and systems to improve on the already high standards that were set in the UK. Hyde are providing quality assurance compliance sheets for some customers, which include full sail measurement, parts check lists, and Instron cloth test results. Ian Flanders is heading up the production organisation, which is based on the successful Benfleet (UK) model. Over the last twenty years, Ian has played a central role in the switch from hand cutting to laser cutting, and his knowledge and expertise are second to none.

Early in 2005 Martin Newman, the Yacht Sails Production Manager at the UK loft, transferred to Cebu to help train staff and improve production output and quality. Alongside his role as the Assistant Production Manager for the whole loft, Martin’s direct area of concern is the Yacht Sails Division. While improving production and the complex administration involved with one-off sail making, Martin is also helping Hyde break into the competitive Asian sail market.

Hyde Cebu is equipped with a combination of new and existing machinery sent from the UK, including our most powerful laser cutter that was developed for fast, accurate cutting of air bag parts. In addition to two state-of-the-art cutters, there is also an Instron Tensile Cloth Tester, situated in a temperature controlled environment, which is an essential part of what Hyde does to check the quality of materials to maintain agreed standards. Hyde tests every roll of cloth before use.

The loft is situated in a brand new facility which has been fitted out to an exceptional standard; cool bright décor and suspended ceilings are designed for an airy, light environment, with nine huge air-conditioning units which have the ability to cool the building below twenty degrees. Hyde Sails takes the working conditions of its staff very seriously and is committed to the best possible practices. We are confident that we are one of, if not the best, fitted-out and maintained sail-making factory in the world.

This new manufacturing facility will provide the same high level of quality and service that Hyde Sails has delivered over the past thirty-five years, ensuring that the Company and our customers enjoy a prosperous and successful future.

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