Standard Furniture to close Frisco City, Ala., plant
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, May 8, 2013
BAY MINETTE, Ala. — In an effort to cut energy and labor costs and improve the efficiencies of its domestic operations, case goods manufacturer Standard Furniture is closing its 300,000-square-foot Frisco City, Ala., plant.
About 55 miles northeast of its 1 million-square-foot Bay Minette plant and headquarters, Frisco City produces promotional four- to five-piece laminate bedrooms that retail from $399 to $499. Bay Minette produces a range of laminate bedrooms covering different price points, largely in the $599 to $999 realm.
Officials did not reveal how many workers are now employed in Frisco City. Combined the two plants employ about 600, with the majority of those in Bay Minette.
The company is offering transfers to most of its Frisco City workers. At this early stage, it was unclear how many will accept the offer by the time the plant ceases production at the end of June.
While the move is expected to reduce overall head count, there will be a net gain of 100 jobs in Bay Minette.
Company President Todd Evans said the promotional line will be shifted to Bay Minette by July 8. The company carries about 30 days of inventory, which will allow retailers to order product from its 1.1 million-square-foot Bay Minette warehouse through the transition, he said.
"It will be seamless for the retailer," he said.
The Bay Minette facility has been in operation since 1946. Standard acquired the Frisco City plant out of a bankruptcy proceeding in 1999 and has been producing furniture there since 2000.
Officials said the change is part of a consolidation that will allow all of its manufacturing operations to be under one roof. It also will eliminate the cost of transporting materials and finished goods back and forth between Bay Minette and Frisco City.
"We can bring the entire product line to this factory and eliminate a lot of materials and movement waste," Evans said, adding that this alone will save the company more than $1 million a year.
Bay Minette has already undergone a transformation in the past year that has reduced the amount of manufacturing space to about 600,000 square feet from 1 million square feet. The changes also have consolidated production from five divisions to two larger units, machining operations and assembly.
"We have made major improvements in this facility in terms of our efficiencies," Evans said. "It's an initiative that started one year ago in April and we have been successful in eliminating a lot of waste. A lot of it was in labor and a lot of it was in the way the plant was configured as we consolidated production into smaller buildings.... In this day and time is all about (building) efficiency and eliminating waste."
Once the consolidation is completed, the company said that Bay Minette will be able to produce up to $70 million worth of furniture a year. This compares to about $55 million a year in both plants combined.
"The decision to idle our Frisco plant was a very difficult one, but one we felt was necessary in order to maximize our efficiency and remain a leader in the promotional bedroom arena," Evans said.
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