Lloyd/Flanders President Dudley Flanders told employees and dealers the company will close its Fort Smith, Ark., operations and consolidate distribution into its 500,000-sq.-ft. facility in Menominee, Mich., where its domestic manufacturing is located.
This move will allow Lloyd/Flanders customers to receive any mix of product lines from a single shipping point, fulfilling the demand for shorter lead times and easing excessive freight cost.
This consolidation of domestic and import product will be equally beneficial to the growth of both Lloyd/Flanders and its retail partners, Flanders said.
"We were just bringing in import products through there because we didn't have room in the Menominee facility to do so," said Dale Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing. "But now that we've implemented lean manufacturing, it freed up a tremendous amount of space in the Menominee facility, which will give dealers a huge benefit because all the product now can ship together instead of trucks coming from two different plants. Now the import product can ship along with the domestic product so the cost savings to retailers is going to be phenomenal."
The Fort Smith facility was no longer used for manufacturing when the decision was made to phase out the sewing, shipping and receiving, and office work about 37 employees handled.
"Obviously it's a sad thing when you close a facility, and some of those people have been with us for a long time, but it's what makes the most sense for the company and the retailers," Campbell said.
Flanders made the announcement to employees on June 21 at the same time letters were sent to dealers. The letter noted company leaders thought the timing of the move was appropriate in light of closing one season and preparing for the next. "This strategic move will fulfill the promise of giving you better delivery of import product just as we made good on our promise of reducing lead times on our domestic product," the letter stated.