Shanghai office latest Hollander foray

Michele SanFilippo, December 15, 2003

Hollander Home Fashions has opened an office with conference space in Shanghai's new towers complex two blocks from the Shanghai Mart.

In addition, the company has added 45,000 square feet to its operations in Toronto by moving in a mattress pad manufacturing facility from Pennsylvania.

Hollander is also in negotiations to expand its manufacturing in mainland China, where it has five factories in Huangzou. It also is expanding domestically in the greater Chicago, Los Angeles and Frackville, PA, areas.

"We still see the U.S. as a viable center for manufacturing as long as it is done with a global perspective," company president and coo Jeff Hollander said. "U.S. manufacturing will remain important in filled textile products in the foreseeable future because there are benefits in getting these products made fresher as well as due to the space issue of storing these items. There is greater flexibility in keeping raw materials in a work in progress format as opposed to a finished goods format."

He continued, "Also costs can be lower in the U.S. if you do them intelligently, looking at freight costs, inventory and space. We analyze what the real cost of the product is during the whole process of getting it out the door. For example, certain featherbeds make more sense to be filled in the U.S. while others do not. We analyze the entire manufacturing process on a case by case basis."

Chairman and ceo Leo Hollander added that the company needs to have a presence in Shanghai because of the amount of work it is doing there as well as the emergence of that city as China's business hub. "Our philosophy is that we're not going to China because of price. It's not because of labor costs, but has to do with productivity," he said.

"The reason we produce certain products outside the U.S. is based on going to the places that best handle the type of production we need. For example, we can't buy 300-count down-proof fabric or 100 percent cotton dobby and jacquard down-proof fabrics in the U.S. because they're just not produced here anymore. Also Americans don't want to hold these types of labor-intensive factory jobs as much as they once did."

He explained that the company has not reduced employment in the U.S. or Canada because of foreign product coming into the country, but said that this situation has enhanced Hollander's ability to service its customers.

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