Boom firm opens doors to welcome royal visitor

The Earl of Wessex being shown around the factory by JELD-WEN's group manager Mike Parkes (left) and general manager Richard Dolben
The Earl of Wessex being shown around the factory by JELD-WEN's group manager Mike Parkes (left) and general manager Richard Dolben

The Earl of Wessex visited JELD-WEN’s door manufacturing site in Sheffield as part of his official visit to South Yorkshire.

The Earl met with JELD-WEN’s managing director Mike Ward and general manager Richard Dolben and was given a tour of the company’s new door factory, which has recently created 30 new jobs in the area.

The new factory produces 2,500 boarded and hemlock doors every week and 40,000 other internal doors, which are sold to local authorities, developers and the home improvement market.

The company, which is based at Woodhouse Mill, employs around 400 staff in Sheffield and an 1,200 strong workforce at a total of four sites across the UK.

On the tour the Earl was shown the company’s latest production line, which incorporates paperless tracking via touch screen monitoring and a new racking system.

The visit also took in the advanced timber preservation treatment plant, where all timber doors are coated in ideal conditions, enabling the company to offer an industry leading 30 year guarantee against fungal rot and decay.

The Earl was shown JELD-WEN’s recent investment in new technology for hinging and servicing doors, which has increased the company’s capacity for added value to the product and is a growing area of the business.

JELD-WEN also demonstrated how the company has managed to buck the market decline in the construction industry by providing a quality product at value for money pricing, combined with introducing more efficient manufacturing methods and a lean management structure.

Mr Ward said: “We are delighted that the Earl of Wessex chose to visit our Sheffield unit to see first hand some of the innovations which are contributing to our success. We introduced him to members of our skilled workforce who play such a vital role in maintaining the consistent high quality of our products.”

JELD-WEN is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of timber doors, windows and stairs and operates factories at Sheffield, Melton Mowbray and Penrith. The unit at Sheffield was established more than 80 years ago by Rothervale Manufacturing, which later became Rothervale Joinery. It was taken over by its main competitor John Carr in 1984 which was later bought by the Rugby Group plc. In 1999 JELD-WEN, a private company with its headquarters in the USA, bought the Rugby Group and has produced doors in Sheffield ever since.