Edgewell touts creation of 140 new jobs at Dover plant

 

A look inside Edgewell Personal Care products manufacturing line in Dover. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — Edgewell Personal Care hosted a tour at their large Dover manufacturing facility on Thursday to mark the completion of an extensive consolidation and the hiring of 140 new employees.

Edgewell is the parent company of global personal care brands in the shaving, feminine care, skin care and infant care markets. Business leaders, politicians and top representatives from Walmart (Edgewell’s “most valued” customer) were all on hand to offer congratulations.

The approximately 500,000-square-foot facility now employs about 650 people. Chris Crowell, vice president of Edgewell’s global operations noted that in some iteration, the company has been manufacturing in Dover since 1933.

Consolidation

Mr. Crowell said the new jobs at the facility stem from a $90 million, 3 1/2 year consolidation that was initiated by the company’s purchase of Johnson & Johnson’s feminine hygiene brands for $185 million back in 2013. Company leadership determined that because their consumers appear to increasingly desire both quick delivery and products made in the United States, keeping all production based in their five state-side facilities was the wisest strategy.

“When we purchased Johnson & Johnson’s Carefree and Stayfree brands, we inherited a manufacturing facility in Montreal, Canada,” said Mr. Crowell. “That facility employed over 500 people, but because manufacturing outside the country was in contrast to our strategy, we made the difficult decision to close that plant and consolidate here in Dover.”

The Montreal facility was also 500,000 square feet, so moving the production equipment and infrastructure to Delaware and making enough room to accommodate the required manufacturing volume rested on the “engineering ingenuity” of local contractors and has resulted in what Edgewell considers a “state-of-the-art, highly-efficient” plant.

Walmart’s commitment

Bolstering the decision to reinvest in the Dover plant was Walmart’s commitment to support U.S. manufacturing, said Mr. Crowell.

“Walmart has been and will continue to be our most valued customer and a tremendous partner,” he said.

In 2013, the retail giant made a 10-year commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in American-made products by 2023. According to Walmart officials, Boston Consulting Group data shows that an estimated one million new U.S. jobs will result from the initiative. This includes direct manufacturing job growth of approximately 250,000, and indirect job growth of approximately 750,000 in the support and service sectors.

“Our customers have told us that second to price, where products are made influences their purchase decisions,” Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s vice president of U.S. manufacturing said in a statement. “We are focused on buying great, quality products that create jobs in communities across the U.S. It makes sense for our customers, our communities and our company.”

Edgewell officials said that as long as current consumer trends continue, they foresee sustained growth of their facility and workforce.

“Consumers are sending the strong signal that they want what they want right away, and they want it to be made in America,” said Mr. Crowell. “With our new investment in this consolidation and Walmart’s commitments, we think we’re going to be manufacturing and growing our business here in Dover for a long time to come.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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