Ipswich: Yacht builder Oyster ‘committed to town’ despite jobs threat

A YACHT firm has stressed its long-term commitment to Ipswich despite revealing plans to shed or move around 10 to 12 jobs from its head office in the town.

Oyster Yachts employs nearly 300 staff - 70 of them at Ipswich - across its three UK sites, which also include boatbuilding operations in Wroxham in Norfolk and Southampton.

In April this year, it brought its entire boat-building operation in-house and is now reorganising the operation to accommodate the new structure.

As part of the changes, chief executive David Tydeman has relocated his family from Wiltshire to the Ipswich area.

The �43million turnover firm is currently involved in a 30-day consultation with staff about the proposals. Mr Tydeman anticipates a maximum of around 15 jobs across the three sites will be affected, and that around half of the jobs at Ipswich will be moved rather than lost.

The Ipswich operation will continue to lead its sales, after-sales and marketing activities, while key design, project management and technical jobs will move to the other centres.

“Earlier this year, we made a strategic move to owning all production in-house, which has resulted in the takeover of our Norfolk-based longstanding sub-contractor Landamores,” explained Mr Tydeman.

Most Read

“As of April this year, we moved from a hybrid operation. The natural progression in that is we have got to realign jobs in the right places. I suspect we should be 5% more efficient. As part of that, there’s this determined commitment for Ipswich to continue as the sales and marketing office.”

The Ipswich head office will focus on “what it has always done best”, he said.

“It’s become a production office, which it should not be. Boat building needs to be run at the yards,” he said.

“I think the best way of describing it is we are trying to take the Ipswich team back to what it did do during its most successful period.”

The company started out as a sales operation using sub-contractors but since 1998 has moved towards bringing production in-house.

“I have moved from Wiltshire very much with this in mind,” he said. “We have got some jobs in the wrong place. We have got some very good people here that are doing jobs I would rather they did in Southampton.”

Although as with all companies, there were currently market pressures, Mr Tydeman said it was set to enjoy a profitable 2012.

“The company is OK but the market is wobbly,” he said. “It always upsets people when you make any changes like this, but actually, we are in a much better position than others.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter