Graham Packaging Co. is spending more than $10 million to expand and upgrade the company's manufacturing plant in Atlanta.
The plastic container maker company is adding a fourth production line, upgrading electrical and air handling, and constructing two additional resin silos at the facility.
An existing line also is being converted from to serve the household products market from the automotive products market, said Jude Sweeney, project portfolio manager for Graham's Household, Automotive and Multi-Customer unit.
“Graham is growing and expanding and really partnering with our customers to meet their needs. That's really what we're doing,” Sweeney said.
“It's really meeting our customer demands. They have increased demands for their product lines and we're doing this to meet their needs,” he said.
The Atlanta facility historically has been focused on the automotive market, so converting one line and adding another to serve the household market adds to the facility's capabilities.
Along with a physical transformation, the company also expects to triple the workforce at the Atlanta site.
Improvements at the Atlanta plant come as a result of winning new business for the site, said Mike King, president of the HAMC business unit. “The biggest driver for us is really the growth, our customers' success in that region. And being positioned to support their success.”
While the location started out serving the automotive industry and has added household products customers, King also sees the potential for even more sectors.
“We're not just focused on household or automotive, but also trying to be a strategic partner to the agri chem and industrial sectors as well,” he said. “There's a lot of that in that area. We're trying to be positioned very well to support those companies.”
Planning for the project began late last year, and Sweeney said work should be completed around this time next year or sooner.
The workforce previously was around 20, and those ranks already have grown to 40 these days with the changes. The staff is expected to top out around 60 when the project is completed.
“It's probably the one area we're most proud about,” Sweeney said about the job creation. “We've got about half of the new employees in place that we've planned for and, so far, we've had zero turnover.”
To make room for the changes at the 81,600-square-foot Atlanta facility, Graham is moving warehousing to a different location. Improvements are currently under way at a 131,505-square-foot distribution center in Austell, Ga.
Changes at the Atlanta facility also include work on office, meeting, employee break room and locker room space. “What we're doing is we're really optimizing what we have,” Sweeney said.
Graham Packaging is owned by Rank Group Ltd., an Auckland, New Zealand-based private investment firm. Sister companies include Pactiv, Closure Systems International and Reynolds Consumer Goods, which includes the Hefty, Slide-Rite, Fresh-Lock and Presto names.
“We've got the technology. We've got the ability to hire great people and an owner who wants to invest in our success and our customers' success,” King said.