The Global Tribune

Showa Group’s Expansion Of Their Alabama Factory Proves To Be A Great Choice

 Breaking News
  • No posts were found

Showa Group’s Expansion Of Their Alabama Factory Proves To Be A Great Choice

September 25
15:51 2020
Showa Group’s Expansion Of Their Alabama Factory Proves To Be A Great Choice
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic International Glove Manufacturer Showa Group announced it’s expansion of their Fayette, Alabama Factory, which has proven to be the right choice in today’s current situation.

As hospitals globally cope with escalating needs from the coronavirus pandemic, there is only one factory in the U.S. that produces a specific kind of single use glove – and it is located in Alabama.

And shortly before anyone in the world had heard of COVID-19, that factory announced an expansion.

It’s a busy time at SHOWA Group’s Fayette plant, and has been for the past four months, as the factory tries to meet a growing need at the same time that the plant itself is growing.

“You look around and you see so many businesses that have been hurt by COVID-19,” Mike Kimple, manufacturing manager, said. “We feel very fortunate to help fight this pandemic any way we can.”

SHOWA Group, with its U.S. operations based in Menlo, Ga., employs 230 in Fayette, where they manufacture two kinds of gloves made of nitrile, a hypoallergenic synthetic rubber that is an alternative to latex. In one year, the factory can produce 400 million individual gloves. If that sounds like a lot, consider that an estimated 100 billion pairs of gloves are thrown away each year – when there’s not a global pandemic.

The company has been a presence in Fayette for more than 30 years. By the time its expansion is completed, it expects to employ 400. “We’re hiring every day,” Kimple said.

The two glove styles – a lighter green glove and a heavier black one – are used in several different fields, but are in heavy demand these days in healthcare.

SHOWA Group announced an expansion of its Fayette plant last year – before the pandemic made PPE gloves a hot item.

In fact, Charles Miller, the company’s vice president of sales, said the demand for gloves has skyrocketed since March.

“It was fairly normal up through February,” he said. “Then we started seeing other countries being faced with (personal protective equipment) shortages. That started hitting the U.S. in March. Now, just the sheer volume that companies are looking for, government agencies – it’s unprecedented.”

The gloves are biodegradable, something that company officials point out is crucial when one considers the amount of single use gloves, masks, gowns and disinfecting wipes that are already bound for landfills around the country.

The company will begin construction of two new production lines in October, and expect to be turning out more gloves by next April. Kimple said that should double the factory’s capacity, and will leave room for more production lines if needed.

Obviously, the company didn’t know what was just around the corner when it announced the expansion. “We wanted to increase the capacity in Fayette, and we wanted to upgrade our equipment to a more modern manufacturing base,” Kimple said.

Production continued through the early days of the pandemic, as the factory was deemed an essential business. Kimple said masks, social distancing, barriers between work stations and staggered breaks resulted in no cases of coronavirus there.

Today, the company announced a partnership with the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) manufacturing division, which encompasses distribution, packaging and fulfillment of glove orders. CABVI President Ed Welsh said almost half of its employees are legally blind or visually impaired – a historically underserved workforce segment hit particularly hard by the economic fallout from COVID-19.

“They see a need to further their commitment to U.S. manufacturing, and that’s very important,” Miller said.

About Showa Group:

Showa’ means “finding a balance between different elements” in Japanese. This principle is much more than just a formula; it is at the heart of our approach and requires full control of all stages. SHOWA is the only company that fully controls the design and manufacture of its protective gloves. Every day at SHOWA we continue to innovate to provide each wearer with a product that meets expectations. This autonomy, impervious to competitor methods and concepts, is based on constantly surpassing what has been done before, ensuring that everyone enjoys comfort and optimum safety.

Search the long list of protective gloves online at showagroup.com

Media Contact
Company Name: Showa Group
Contact Person: Gilbert Leverne
Email: Send Email
Phone: 800.241.0323
Address:579 Edison Street
City: Menlo
State: GA 30731
Country: United States
Website: https://www.showagroup.com/us/en/