Fisher-Price is laying off about 700 employees at its Medina, N.Y., plant, and converting the operation from injection and blow molding to rotational molding. The changes are part of a plan by Fisher-Price to make its new line of rotationally molded outdoor play equipment at three U.S. plants in a production relocation program begun by parent Mattel Inc.
Fisher-Price of East Aurora, N.Y., announced Jan. 18 it will convert its Medina plant to make rotomolded outdoor equipment and to become a regional distri-bution center for the bulky products.
Medina will lose about 700 employeesby June, with 250 remaining for rotomolding and distribution.
Spokeswoman Carol Blackley said Fisher-Price will make the rotomolded play equipment for Western markets at an Orange, Calif., plant that Mattel opened last fall. A third rotomolding plant at an unspecified location in the southeast United States also will rotomold the new line for Southeast markets.
She had no details on equipment purchases or investment costs.
The new line's launch will coincide with a shutdown of the injection and blow molding operation in Medina, where Fisher-Price also does some rotomold-ing. It will transfer current production of Tournament Table game center, Triple Arcade and Vanity Play Set to Fisher-Price's Murray, Ky., plant; Mattel's Fort Wayne, Ind., plant acquired last year as part of Kransco Groups Co.; and other facilities in the Far East, Europe and Mexico. Other newly launched toys such as table and chair sets, toy boxes and beds that convert to book cases, earlier slated for Medina, also will be made elsewhere.
According to Blackley, Fisher-Price will continue to make most of its plastic components and the restructuring does not signal plans to source from outside suppliers.
Blackley said she did not know the fate of Medina's injection and blow molding equipment.
Blackley said the Medina cutback is part of Mattel's restructuring announced late last year in which the El Segundo, Calif., firm will eliminate 1,000 jobs and consolidate global manufacturing. Earlier this month, Mattel laid off 75 employees at its head office.
The restructuring will not affect Fisher-Price's plans to open a new research and development center at East Aurora, where the company employs 850, Blackley said. She said the facility should open in about a year.
Fisher-Price will launch its outdoor play equipment at the Toy Fair next month in New York.
Mattel acquired Fisher-Price in 1993. Fisher-Price then closed its three Mexican plants to transfer production to Mattel's operations in that country. Mattel Chairman John Amerman said Dec. 19 that his firm's acquisitions of Fisher-Price, Kransco and other companies allow cost savings through integration.