Young's Seafood appoints head of operations for expanding Grimsby factory

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 7 Aug 2018

A NEW head of operations has been appointed to lead the expansion of Young’s Seafood in Grimsby, as details on how the new jewel in the firm’s crown will operate.

Billy Storer will take responsibility for manufacturing at Humberstone Road, which is set to become the sector-leading UK business’s largest site, after the neighbouring processor and cold storage operation was acquired.

The Ross House team swooped for the former XPO Logistics facility on Ladysmith Road earlier this year, and is now in the process of merging the adjoining complexes.

Opened in 1964 by Findus, Humberstone Road was already regarded as one of the largest frozen seafood production sites in Europe.

The two sites, as seen from the air, looking back towards Grimsby town centre across Old Clee, bordered by Clee Fields and 'Ploggers' Hardy's Rec playing field.

It will feature the company’s natural salmon centre of excellence, with lines to cater for the new contract wins with Marks and Spencer, a new coated facility for the high street giant which is set to open in October, as well as the existing fish finger factory and further coated operations.

Traffic issues at the original site, embedded in a residential area and reached through terrace-lined streets, will also be eased with access to be centred on Ladysmith Road.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the site. Less than a decade ago, 40 per cent of Humberstone Road was mothballed as the recession bit into elements of the work, while plans to demolish the former XPO Logistics element were drawn up after it ceased Grimsby operations a year ago when it lost a key contract. For years it traded as Christian Salvesen, across the way from another major loss – Birds Eye – which left the town after 51 years of frozen food production in 2005.

Mr Storer joins Young’s from 2 Sisters Food Group where he was site director for the company’s Ready to Eat and Ready to Cook factories in Derby.

He brings more than  30 years of experience across food and drink manufacturing, having previously held senior operational roles at Premier Foods, ABF, United Biscuits, Kraft Foods and Molson Coors. Coincidentally, much of the work heading to Humberstone Road has been won after Five Star Fish – a 2 Sisters company – surrendered the contracts as the plug was pulled on the factory on Great Grimsby Business Park after years of losses.

Bill Showalter, pictured above, chief executive of Young’s, said: “I’m pleased to announce that Billy has joined Young’s Seafood Ltd as head of operations at our Humberstone Road facility. Billy has a history of successfully implementing great customer service, process improvement and change management programmes wherever he has worked. His extensive experience will be extremely valuable as we further develop this outstanding site and execute our long-term growth strategy.”

The holder of masters in Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence, Mr Storer – who will report to Duncan McIntyre, group operations director, when he starts next week – will also head up the Annan Port Street site in Scotland. It has seen increased volumes too, following consolidation of the Scottish processing facilities. 

Young’s is still working on the revised recruitment figures, having initially announced a need for 200 new recruits when this was announced. However, it soon after lost an Asda contract, valued at £30 million. 

The works, ongoing now, come as Seachill's South Humberside Industrial Estate production facility is expanded to help deliver a £20 million Waitrose win

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