"This is wonderful news," said Clinton Squires, Interface Australia's managing director. "While of lot of companies are moving offshore we really want to be close to our customers."
This decision comes after a fire destroyed the company's Picton factory in July of this year. The Board of Directors of the Atlanta, Georgia (USA)-based company confirmed the decision late last week. Interface has been manufacturing carpet in Australia for over 40 years.
"Now that the company has reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining a local manufacturing presence, we need to get back to work as soon as possible. Restarting manufacturing here in Australia is an economic imperative in this tight financial environment. This is good news for our customers, as this will allow us to serve our customers' needs with industry leading service levels, while maintaining the flexibility to continue to offer the local market a broad range of custom and made-to-order products with short lead times," said Mr. Squires.
The company is presently considering an existing building located in southwest Sydney, but it remains subject to negotiation, a development application, and an internal due diligence process. However, its size and location offer a number of important advantages over the company's prior multi-site approach, as it would allow the company to combine manufacturing from Picton and the warehousing facility at Eastern Creek under one roof. The site also offers improved transportation options for both the company's products and its employees as it is adjacent to a railway station and a key motorway.
"From a sustainable point-of-view it is important to note we will not only be manufacturing locally, with new equipment, but that the proposed site is much more efficient," said Mr. Squires. "Less transport and less waste mean a lower overall environmental footprint."
Interface leads the industry in its commitment to the environment. Interface Australia was recently awarded the NSW Green Globe Award for Excellence in Sustainability and was a finalist in the 2012 Banksia Award – Australia's most prestigious environmental award. Part of its corporate charter is a commitment to Mission Zero™, the company's promise to have no negative impact on the environment by 2020.
It now appears unlikely that the factory will be rebuilt at Picton. "It is disappointing that rebuilding the factory in Picton doesn't seem economically viable, primarily because the delay a rebuild will cause; an existing building allows us to get our people back to work and to servicing our customers with local production as soon as possible."
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