Welspun Builds Up Bedding Production
New Plants in India, Mexico to Supply U.S.
By Jennifer Marks -- Home Textiles Today, 11/12/2007 12:00:00 AM
Mumbai, India — —
Mumbai, India —Welspun India Ltd. next month will officially go live with bedding production at new facilities in India and in Juarez, Mexico that will put it into a series of new product categories beyond its current terry towel and bed sheet businesses.
The 600,000-square-foot factory and distribution center in Mexico will have the capacity to produce fashion bedding as well as utility comforters, mattress pads, sleep pillows and decorative pillows. When running at full capacity, the plant should churn $250 million in revenue annually, said Charles Ganslen, coo for North America.
The new bedding facility in Anjar, India will produce identical products. Both will operate as Welspun AG, with fashion bedding production in both locations overseen by Humberto Tello, president and ceo of Welspun Mexico. Welspun USA will continue to handle distribution in the United States from India and Mexico.
Only eight months ago, Welspun planned to house the entire operation in India. However, the company realized “you can comfortably fit 850 comforters in a container or 14,000 shells in the same container. It can add up pretty quickly to a big freight advantage,” said Ganslen. When fully scaled up, the Mexican plant can churn out about 100,000 comforter sets per week, including distribution.
In addition, for certain product classifications, merchandise can ship duty-free into the United States under NAFTA regulations, he added.
In terms of distribution, the plant's proximity to the U.S. market is a plus, Ganslen said. The operation employs the latest version of SAP software and has been set up to both ship directly from Mexico or supply store-ready pick and pack units for pick-up in Juarez or El Paso, Texas. “The customers are buying that supply chain story,” said Ganslen.
Welspun USA has established an office in Charlotte, N.C., that employs about a dozen people in design, sales and marketing to support the bedding launch as well as the company's upcoming entry into the bath rug business. Welspun plans to open its fully vertical bath rug facility in India in spring '08, making both reversible and backed rugs.
The company still holds money in reserve for possible acquisitions, and Ganslen said the priorities there are innovation and brands.
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