Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) announced on Tuesday it will invest $184 million in its Andalusia, Ala., manufacturing facility, which creates fiber used to manufacture carpet.
“Shaw’s significant new investment in its Andalusia manufacturing facility is a welcome development that positions the plant for the future and demonstrates the company’s confidence in its large Alabama workforce,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. “We look forward to working with Shaw to help its Covington County operation not only succeed but also thrive.”
The project will include construction of new and expanded building assets, and installation of substantial amounts of new manufacturing equipment.
“These investments will ensure the long-term viability of this critical operation within Shaw’s portfolio of manufacturing facilities. They are designed to improve the plant’s ability to compete successfully in the marketplace for the short and long term,” stated Vance Bell, Shaw Chairman and CEO. “This facility upgrade will utilize state of the art technology and innovative processes that will be industry leading in cost and quality.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, acknowledged, “We’ve made it a priority in Alabama to assist companies like Shaw that are reinvesting in their facilities and upgrading their operations to enhance competitiveness and efficiency. This project shows Shaw’s commitment to its Andalusia facility, and it will benefit employees there for the long haul.”
The changes will improve efficiency and production as well as ergonomics and safety for the more than 1,000 associates who work at the plant. Demolition work is underway at the facility, and new equipment is set to be in place and operational by mid-2018; the facility will remain operational throughout the transition.
“Shaw’s commitment to safety and product quality are the cornerstone of business,” added Ron Fantroy, Shaw Plant Manager for Plant 65/Andalusia. “This tremendous investment illustrates our continual effort to improve our operations and employ advanced manufacturing techniques to meet the needs of our associates and customers.”
Shaw’s operations are more complex than ever. As a result, almost every job at Shaw — from designers and data scientists to machinists and managers — requires a higher skill level than in the past. Shaw benefits from a talented, well-trained associate base in Covington County, where it is the county’s largest employer.
“Shaw is involved in an array of education programs – from kindergarten to college, from reading to robotics – to help support the development of a highly skilled workforce necessary for 21st century jobs,” Bell noted.
Greg White, Chairman of the Covington County Commission said, “This sort of investment would not be made unless the company had great confidence in the folks that show up to work with them every day. And, I am especially thankful for everyone throughout our community who looked for every way possible to support this investment. These efforts are providing a long-term economic stability that most communities could only hope for.”
“Andalusia and Shaw Industries have worked together in the past to make sure that Shaw’s Andalusia operation is poised for success,” added Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson. “The Andalusia Council, Utilities Board and myself together with Southeast Gas and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative were glad to do our part to help Shaw decide to make this major investment in the Andalusia plant. Shaw had other options, and in making this decision, we are pleased that they will be part of our community for years to come.”