Advanced Manufacturing Flocks to Mississippi
Mississippi is becoming a magnet for companies specializing in advanced manufacturing techniques that also are seeking centralized logistics operations. With low taxes and a low cost of doing business, the state also is an attractive choice for companies looking for ways to reduce operational costs.
In April, G & G Steel, producer of some of the world’s largest fabricated metal components, announced plans for a metal fabrication facility to be located in the Tri-State Commerce Park in Iuka, MS.
The company will fabricate metal components for large-scale projects including bridges, locks and mining equipment at its new facility. The area’s available workforce and access to major transportation networks were key factors in the decision to locate in Mississippi.
Earlier this year, Handy Hardware, a member-owned hardware-buying group, announced the location of a distribution center in the Meridian I-20/59 Industrial Park. Handy plans to break ground on its new facility by the middle of this year. Once complete, the distribution center is expected to create more than 150 new jobs, representing a $20-million investment by the company.
Other companies are expanding operations already located in Mississippi: Alliant Techsystems (ATK), is making preparations to manufacture composite structures for commercial aircraft applications at its Iuka, MS, facility. The company will produce composite stringers and frames, which are essential components of next-generation commercial aircrafts. The expansion is expected to retain 176 current jobs and increase the workforce to a total of 800 employees over the next eight years.
Nissan North America, which has been manufacturing automobiles in Mississippi since 2003, currently is expanding its Canton, MS, plant as the company prepares to launch commercial vehicles (CV) in 2010. The facility will produce the NV2500 Concept, which is Nissan’s first entry into the CV market in North America. The expansion represents a $118-million investment by Nissan North America. Mississippi also is home to a number of leading research centers dedicated to telecommunications, geospatial systems, aerospace and aviation, biotechnology and biodefense, polymers and more. From the University of Southern Mississippi’s Polymer Institute to Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, the state’s universities and colleges are forming innovative partnerships with companies to provide the technology resources companies need to develop new products and new manufacturing capabilities.
Tylertown Site Shines for Kalencom
Kalencom, Inc. recently selected the former MultiCraft facility in Tylertown, MS to manufacture soft-good jewelry packaging and specialty-sewn products.
Kalencom is a multi-faceted manufacturer made up of four divisions. The company’s marketing distribution concentrates in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, South and Central America and Europe. The customer base concentration varies with each division and ranges from manufacturing under contract for manufacturers and wholesalers, to manufacturing directly to distributors and retailers.
Kalencom was founded in 1971. Both the corporate headquarters and main plant are located in New Orleans in a four-story, 60,000- square-foot facility. The company also utilizes five extensive manufacturing plant resources located in Asia, and additional sub-contracting facilities located both in the U.S. and overseas. Due to changes in world manufacturing costs, the company will shift some of overseas sewing to the Tylertown operation.
Jeno and Monica Kalozdi, who have owned a farm in Walthall County since the late 1990’s, are the owners of Kalencom, Inc. In addition to light sewing, the Tylertown operation will be used as a distribution center for baby layette products and other infant accessories that are sold through major retailers worldwide.
The purchase agreement between the Kalozdi’s and Walthall County was signed on December 15 and the company started hiring immediately. Kalencom expects the local operation to employ at least 20 and perhaps as many as 60 people, depending on economic conditions.
Kalencom will retrofit the former wiring harness facility to meet the manufacturing and distribution needs of the company, creating an efficient distribution center with productive sewing stations. The Tylertown division will focus on increasing the company’s market share of jewelry packaging and effectively reducing the distribution costs of the company’s core infant products.
The Walthall County Board of Supervisors purchased the former MultiCraft Facility shortly after the plant closed. The building has been shown to more than 45 prospects in the last five years ranging from small operations to those seeking to employ in excess of 300.
The nearly 60,000-square-foot former MultiCraft facility is one of the more than 100 available buildings listed by Mississippi in the 40,000- to 80,000-square-foot range. Statewide, more than 400 buildings are vacant ranging in size from 1,000 square feet to more than 1,000,000 square feet. Communities compete for economic development projects and decisions on whether to consider a community are based on several criteria, such as interstate access, rail, and vicinity to a deep-water port and/or international airport.