Automotive supplier SKF announces it is investing about $50 million in strengthening its manufacturing footprint and competitiveness in North America, but the plan includes staff downsizing.
About $28 million is being invested in expanding and automating manufacturing processes at the group’s factory in Sumter, SC.
Another $23 million is being invested in relocating manufacturing of tapered roller bearings from China to an existing manufacturing site in Mexico. The transfer supports the group’s regional manufacturing ambitions and will strengthen SKF’s North American product offering, SKF says in a news release.
The technology upgrades, improved delivery times and greater flexibility will enable SKF to consolidate factories in Avon, OH, and North Charleston, SC, into its Sumter factory.
The investments and consolidation will take approximately 12-18 months to implement and will result in a reduction in staff of approximately 115, with associated restructuring costs amounting to $4 million which will be accounted for during the third quarter, SKF says.
“These investments illustrate SKF’s commitment to better serving customers in the region and will improve both our flexibility and competitiveness,” John Schmidt, president-industrial sales, Americas, says in the release: “While this is an essential step for SKF, we do not take decisions that impact our employees lightly.
“We are deeply appreciative of our employees in Avon and North Charleston and we are committed to fully supporting them as they transition to roles outside SKF.”
Kent Viitanen, president-bearing operations, says: “These investments represent the next steps in developing our regional manufacturing capabilities. The investment in Sumter will be the first implementation of our automated manufacturing technologies within the slewing bearing cluster and we are very excited to be able to capitalize on the benefits it will bring.”