Industry News Update December 2, 2021

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association is committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information in the industry. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

MASTERBRAND INVESTS $13.5 MILLION IN N.C. MANUFACTURING PLANT

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MasterBrand Cabinets will invest more than $13.5 million to expand production capacity at its manufacturing center in Kinston, North Carolina. The project is expected to create more than 450 jobs over five years in Lenoir County.

“MasterBrand is committed to investing in our people and facilities through offering competitive wages and benefits; providing a safe and clean working environment; and training, developing, and retaining our associates,” said Dave Banyard, president, MasterBrand Cabinets. “We are proud to expand our operations in Kinston, which allows us to better meet the demand of our customers while providing new jobs and strengthening the communities where our associates live and work.”

The project will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) as an incentive approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Over the 12-year term of this grant, the State estimates the project will grow its economy by $657.8 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 464 new jobs tied to this grant, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $3,878,000, spread over 12 years.

“MasterBrand Cabinets’ new jobs and investment are the fruits of our state’s commitment to build a skilled, inclusive, and diverse workforce,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “As our First in Talent strategic plan makes clear, we will continue to make investments in our educational and training systems so that manufacturers will continue to expand and grow in our state."

 

EGGER WINS SAFETY AWARD FOR U.S. FACILITY

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Egger Wood Products’ first new facility in North America has won a safety award for the new plant.

The Engineering News-Record (ENR) recognized the Egger plant as the Southeast region’s Best Project in the manufacturing category and awarded it for Excellence in Safety.

The Lexington, N.C., facility spans 815,000-sq.-ft. plant and was designed to create “the most modern plant in the world for this type of product,” said Carsten Ritterbach, plant manager, commercial services for Egger told the ENR.

Egger is a family-owned, Austrian-based wood manufacturing company that produces panel products. The company selected Gray to design and build its first U.S. facility and 20th manufacturing operation worldwide.

According to a Gray construction blog post, the company participated in a Safety and Health Achievement and Recognition Program (SHARP)  partnership with the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Division to monitor and assess safety in real-time on the project.

The project was deemed a winner for efforts on issues such as severe weather impacts to supply chain consideration. 

 

NEW TEXAS RULES AFTER BLACKOUT, BUT NOT FOR THIS WINTER

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Regulators of Texas' oil and gas industry that buckled during February's deadly freeze moved Tuesday toward making some producers more prepared for cold weather, but not in time for this winter as the nation's power grid monitor warned the state is still at risk of blackouts.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is guaranteeing the lights will stay on this winter. But energy experts are less confident.

A recent annual winter forecast by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which oversees the reliability of the nation's electrical sector, projected Texas could have a nearly 40% shortfall in available power to meet demand in the event of another severe storm this winter. Officials behind that forecast said such an extreme scenario is not highly likely but cannot be ruled out.

 

FORESTS FOR SALE: HOW LAND TRAFFICKERS PROFIT BY SLICING UP BOLIVIA’S PROTECTED AREAS

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Shortly after Bolivia’s Bajo Paraguá Municipal Protected Area was established in February 2021, authorities began receiving reports of invasions and deforestation in and around the new protected area.

Local sources say land traffickers are illegally buying up plots of protected land to resell, often repeatedly, to third parties.

One of these third parties said he purchased access to land in Bajo Paraguá from land traffickers before being evicted by the same traffickers so that they could sell the land to someone else.

Traffickers have resorted to threats of violence to intimidate local communities from reporting incursions.

 

KEEPING OLDER WORKERS IS A BOON TO MANUFACTURERS

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Retaining older workers benefits manufacturers, and having multigenerational teams boosts company productivity, employee engagement and the bottom line, according to a new study by the MI’s Center for Manufacturing Research and AARP. 
 
Valuable assets: “The labor market is challenged right now, with a historic number of resignations across the economy, including a significant number of retirees,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee.
“Employees with a long history in a specific company or in the sector contribute greatly to the production and ideas on the shop floor, and companies are not eager to lose their insights and hard-earned experiences. This study highlights the benefits of having teams with members from diverse age groups—and the steps manufacturers can take to maximize those benefits.”

Management tips: The study covers best practices for multigenerational team management, as well as how to leverage age diversity in the manufacturing workplace.
 
Paying dividends: “As a result of the workforce challenges, manufacturers are finding that retaining older workers is not only a necessity but an asset,” said AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond. “Research shows that age-diverse workforces have a positive effect on employee engagement, productivity and the bottom line. The expertise of older workers helps businesses and pays big dividends for the economy as a whole. Employers who embrace age diversity will be at an advantage.”