MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Procter & Gamble has announced the eight products that will initially be manufactured at the company’s new $500 million plant now under construction at the Tabler Station Business Park.
The company’s Bounce fabric enhancers will be the first products manufactured locally when the facility opens in late 2017. It will be followed in late 2018 by Pantene, Aussie, Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Vidal Sassoon (shampoos and conditioners); Olay personal cleansing (body wash) products and Old Spice personal cleansing (body wash) products, said corporate communications manager Jeff LeRoy.
Three of these are referred to as “billion dollar brands,” he said.
“Our brand portfolio has 21 brands that globally each bring in a billion dollars of sales or more. So three of those brands will be made at Tabler Station, including Pantene, Head and Shoulders and Olay body wash,” he said.
“It’s important to remember that this is not the final list of products, and there will be more announcements in the future. These are just the initial steps and not the final plan for Tabler Station. We’re continuing to assess and consider other business options for the site,” he said.
This new facility is located on an approximately 450-acre site purchased in 2014 for about $30 million. Site work got underway after last September’s groundbreaking ceremony, and plans call to pour the first concrete this fall. And when fully operational, the plant will have about 700 full-time employees, he said.
“The idea behind this plant is that it will produce multiple brands from multiple categories,” he said.
PART OF A NEW AND IMPROVED SYSTEM
The local facility is part of a corporate plan to reach retail customers and consumers more efficiently and quickly, according to LeRoy.
“Along with P&G’s six new mega-distribution centers that opened last year, Tabler Station will help us reach 80 percent of our retail customers and consumers – especially on the East Coast – within one day of transit from where the products are made,” he said.
In addition to improving the company’s overall efficiency, the change in proximity will also reduce its inventory and costs, he said, adding that the company has 130 manufacturing plants in more than 40 countries, with more in the U.S. than any other country.
“A couple of years ago we decided when we looked at our manufacturing/distribution footprint in the United States that it was not ideally designed, since it had been put together as we grew and expanded over the past nearly 200 years. As a result, facilities were not ideally located in some cases, so we decided to redesign our entire North American supply chain,” he said.
Larger multi-category plants, rather than having sites that handled only one or two brands, are part of that effort. It also makes better business sense because some of the brands use common manufacturing platforms, he said.
It’s also been necessary to realign the company’s distribution system.
“A lot of our distribution system and warehouses in the country would work for just one or two products, but not really work for our entire brand portfolio, which consists of 65 leadership brands. So we opened six new mixing centers in 2014, including one in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania – just up Interstate 81,” he said.
Additionally, a new manufacturing site was needed in close proximity to major population areas.
“After our study, we came upon Martinsburg/Tabler Station as the best place. And that’s why we bought the land there,” he said.
“Ultimately our goal from the point of manufacture – which in this case is Tabler Station – until the product is on the shelf, where you or I can buy it, is for 80 percent of our products to reach that goal in one day. It’s necessary because things have changed and our retail customers are much more demanding about what they want and when they want it,” he said.
It’s now a matter of “production on demand” so that items can be distributed within days – and sometimes even hours, he said.
STATE OFFICIALS PRAISE PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, along with Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon about the company’s product announcent.
It’s further proof that West Virginia is now competing with companies across the country and world, Tomblin said.
Others are also taking note of this major economic investment in Berkeley County, he said.
“Last week we received word that our Procter & Gamble project was named one of the top investments of the year by Trade & Industry Development magazine. Each year Trade & Industry considers several hundred corporate economic development announcements across North America. Of the many projects considered this year, West Virginia was selected as one of the publication’s 2016 Corporate Investment and Community Impact Award winners,” Tomblin said.
“We are truly honored to receive this outstanding award,” he said.
Tomblin also praised the company, saying, “P&G has shown great confidence in our state and our workforce, and I am committed to making sure West Virginia has available workers ready to do the job and do it well.”
It’s a great way to round out his second gubernatorial term, Tomblin said.
“Six years ago I made a promise to go anywhere and sit down with anyone to bring jobs to West Virginia. This Procter & Gamble project will forever be one of my proudest moments. I know there are only nine months left in my administration, but I am passionate about this project because it strengthens the state I love and brings with it new opportunity for the people who call West Virginia home,” he said.
Staff writer Jenni Vincent can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 131, or www.twitter.com/jennivincentwv.