Duracell closing Cleveland, Tenn., packing plant by 2018

Duracell closing Cleveland, Tenn., packing plant by 2018

November 11th, 2016 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Staff file photo by Jake Daniels/ C-cell batteries are pushed into a line by machinery on a production line at a Duracell plant.

Staff file photo by Jake Daniels/ C-cell batteries...

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

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TIMELINE

1961 — Cleveland, Tenn., plant built for P.R. Mallory and Co.

1964 — Mallory introduces Duracell brand batteries

1979 — Dart Industries buys Mallory and changes the company’s name to Duracell

1980 — Duracell builds a testing and packing plant in Cleveland

1985 — Duracell moves to manufacture C and D batteries at its Mouse Creek facility in Cleveland

1991 — Copper Top Lane warehouse opened

1996 — Duracell bought by Gillette

1998 — Company opens a Cleveland distribution facility

2005 — Gillette purchased by Procter & Gamble, with Duracell spun off into own division

2011 — Cleveland facility celebrates 50 years of battery production

2012 — P&G makes Cleveland sole worldwide producer of C and D batteries, announces $36 million expansion and 60 new jobs

Source: Duracell

 

Battery maker Duracell plans to take some juice out of its Cleveland, Tenn., workforce, closing its packing plant by 2018 and cutting about 140 jobs.

The move by Duracell, maker of the well-known "coppertop" battery, will not impact its manufacturing operation in Cleveland, where nearly 150 people are employed making C and D batteries, the company said.

Duracell said it's consolidating its U.S. display and North American packing operations.

Robert Lorch, president of global operations for Duracell, said the decision makes the company's supply chain more efficient.

"However, we recognize the impact this will have on our team members and their families in Tennessee and pledge to provide support and necessary resources to help them transition to a positive new beginning, either within Duracell or externally," he said in a statement.

Gary Farlow, who heads the Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce, said he never wants to hear about layoffs. But, the company isn't ending packing until 2018, giving its employees time to find other work, he said.

Also, Farlow said the unemployment rate is low, coming in at 4.8 percent in September for the Cleveland metropolitan area.

"There are lots of other opportunities in Cleveland," he said, including in the manufacturing sector.

Duracell also said it will exit its packing relationship with Deufol's Sunman, Ind., plant by the end of 2017.

At the same time, Duracell will consolidate its current North American battery packing and U.S. display operations at Sonoco — a $5 billion global provider of consumer packaging, display and packing services.

"Duracell is committed to a seamless transition," the company said.

The announcement is the second major consolidation by Duracell since it was purchased by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway early this year.

This summer, Duracell revealed it plans to close a battery-making plant in South Carolina that employs 430 people.

The shutdown of the Lancaster, S.C., factory that makes AA batteries will begin in March and should be complete by the middle of 2019, Duracell said.

Duracell is consolidating its North American production of AA and AAA batteries into a plant in LaGrange, Ga.

Farlow said Duracell has its packing operation on Stuart Road while its manufacturing plant is located off Mouse Creek Road. There's also upwards of 40 contract staff at the manufacturing plant depending on work flow and demand, according to the company.

Berkshire Hathaway bought Duracell from Proctor & Gamble, which had purchased the battery maker from Gillette in 2005.

In 2012, P&G announced a $36 million expansion and 60 new jobs as it made the Cleveland factory the sole worldwide producer of C and D batteries.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.


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