August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5
By Reginald Tucker
Armstrong Flooring has announced plans to consolidate its wood manufacturing operations, paring production down to six plants in the U.S. The move will result in the closure of two manufacturing facilities—Jackson, Tenn., and Vicksburg, Miss.—in the fourth quarter of this year. The closings will result in the elimination of more than 300 jobs—215 in Jackson; 93 in Vicksburg.
According to Don Maier, president and CEO, the initiative is designed to better align Armstrong’s wood flooring manufacturing capacity with its current customer demand and to leverage productivity benefits realized across its wood flooring operations. “Although this change is necessary due to the natural evolution of the market, closing a plant is always a difficult decision because we recognize the impact it will have on valued members of our team. Our co-workers in Jackson and Vicksburg have produced quality flooring used by customers across the country and have supported the development and success of Armstrong Flooring. For that, we thank them and will offer them our support as they prepare for their next opportunities.”
Maier emphasized the plant closures will not impact product availability, service or cost to customers. For instance, production from the Jackson plant, which manufactures 2- and 3-inch-wide solid products exclusively, will be transferred to Armstrong’s other domestic wood flooring plants, reflecting a shift in demand. In recent years, consumption of engineered wood flooring has outpaced that of solid wood flooring.
With respect to the Vicksburg plant, which produces core veneers and plywood used in production of engineered wood floors at Armstrong Flooring’s Somerset, Ky., facility Armstrong Flooring will continue engineered wood flooring production here. There will be no change in surface veneer suppliers, which means product visuals will not be affected.
“Across the industry, we’ve seen increasing demand for wider-width wood planks and textured surfaces, and our six other wood plants in the U.S. have the capability and capacity to manufacture a full range of products to meet customer demand,” Maier explained.
The latest consolidation announcement marks the second reduction in staffing in response to strategic initiatives. Earlier this year, Armstrong realigned its residential and commercial divisions and combined resilient and wood manufacturing operations, resulting in the loss of 40 positions (FCNews, March 13/20, 2017).