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Taylor Made to idle Fla. plant, rehire Gloversville workers

Taylor Made to idle Fla. plant, rehire Gloversville workers

Taylor Made Systems announced Friday it is shutting down one of its manufacturing plants in Bradento

Taylor Made Systems announced Friday it is shutting down one of its manufacturing plants in Bradenton, Fla., and moving some of the plant’s production duties to Gloversville.

Taylor Made Systems is a division of the Taylor Made Group, based in Gloversville, which after the Bradenton closure will operate 11 manufacturing facilities in the United States, Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. The privately owned firm does not release its total or local employment numbers.

Taylor Made Systems Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mike Oathout said the economic downturn has caused a drop in demand volume for Taylor Made Systems products, which include marine glazing systems and boating accessories. He said in recent months Taylor Made had to lay off manufacturing workers and office staff in Gloversville, including his own assistant, but now some of the workers might be invited back to pick up the slack from shutting down the Bradenton plant.

“We believe that we will be able to bring back some of the staff that are currently on furlough or layoff. To what extent we’re not exactly sure yet,” Oathout said. “Probably within the next two or three weeks we’ll have a real solid plan in place.”

The news of jobs coming back to Fulton County is welcomed by many after last week’s state Dept. of Labor report that showed Fulton County’s unemployment rate in January jumping to 10.5 percent, one of the highest rates in the state.

In a news release, company officials said the Bradenton plant will be mothballed, with the hope it can eventually be reopened, and Taylor Made’s 300,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center on Harrison Street in Gloversville will remain in “full operation.”

Oathout said the Bradenton plant was mostly focused on manufacturing boat windshields. He said the plant’s production will be divided between Gloversville and a plant in Kendallville, Ind., based on customer orders.

Company officials said the reorganization moves will benefit Taylor Made’s operations in the long run. “As our marine customers find it necessary to reduce staffing levels and cut production rates even further than they did in 2008, we too must bring our floor plan in line with what we might term the cold, hard facts of the current market climate,” Taylor Made Systems President Al Petit stated in a news release. “Doing so will ensure that Taylor Made Systems stays both at optimum health for the duration of this downturn and, very importantly, poised to be an even higher-value supplier to our customers when the market does rebound.”

Oathout said the downturn has increased Taylor Made’s reliance on Gloversville, the city where it was founded in 1908. He said over the last three months the company has consolidated its U.S. engineering and design team to Gloversville and created a central customer service call center in Gloversville.

“It’s given us the opportunity to take advantage of the people we have here, fully. We haven’t necessarily been able to add people as of yet but it’s certainly saved jobs,” he said.

Company officials said the down economy has resulted in shrinking sales volumes but Taylor Made has still increased “market penetration” in the form of new customers. Oathout said the company has leveraged new products and competitive advantages to earn more customers from its competitors even as the market has shrunk.

Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce President Wally Hart said Taylor Made continues to be an important part of Fulton County’s economy.

“We are grateful for the decision to consolidate and keep these jobs in Fulton County, and the possibility of creation of new positions at Taylor Made Systems in Gloversville in this economic climate is just further proof of the company’s 100-plus years of commitment to our community,” Hart said.

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