Manufacturing

Haworth to close Douglas plant

September 9, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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Haworth has announced a series of changes at some of its production facilities in West Michigan, including the eventual closing of the Douglas plant.

The office furniture maker said it is trying to avoid “involuntary elimination” of jobs by offering a voluntary severance package to affected employees.

In the next few weeks and continuing through mid-2013, Haworth will begin the transition of all fabrication and assembly of lateral files from the Steel Components Plant in Holland to the existing Haworth Steel Plant in Big Rapids.

As space opens up in the Holland Steel Plant, most operations now done in Douglas will consolidate in the Holland facility. The company said the changes in Douglas will begin during first quarter of 2013, and all production will permanently end there by the first quarter of 2014.

In addition, Haworth will convert the current wet coat paint line in the Holland Steel Plant to a powder coat line. The company said the “significant investment” of new equipment will result in a “more attractive and environmentally friendly product.” Powder coating does not release toxic VOCs in the air like a solvent-based paint process does.

Employees in Holland Steel or Douglas whose jobs are affected by the changes will be given the option of moving to where their job will be, or working in another position or plant. In addition, a voluntary severance offer will be made.

“I am proud that the Haworth family has remained steadfast in the commitment to stay in West Michigan and North America as they continue to invest and provide our customers with a zero-landfill, best-in-class, sustainable product solution,” said Franco Bianchi, Haworth president and CEO.

The privately held company reported net sales of $1.38 billion in 2011. In February, Haworth reported having 6,000 employees at all of its global locations. The employee count in West Michigan last year was 2,450, according to The Right Place Inc.

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