Shaw shutting down for 1 week

Published 9:09 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

Beginning Friday night, the more than 1,110 employees of Shaw Industries will be out of work for one week as the Andalusia plant shuts down to perform an “inventory adjustment.”

Bill Barron, Shaw’s vice president of manufacturing, said the move is in a direct response to the lagging economy.

“It’s not unusual with the downturn of the economy or during a slow business period that we shut plants down,” Barron said. “The Andalusia plant is an important one in the company. (The employees) are coming back.”

According to its Web site, Shaw Industries, Inc., is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., and is the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and a leading floor covering provider with more than $5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Dalton, Ga., the company manufactures and distributes carpeting, rugs, hardwood, laminate and ceramic tile for residential and commercial applications worldwide.

Barron cited the economic impact of the sagging market in new home construction and that no area within the company has not been affected.

“It’s been pretty much universal with hardwoods, surface rugs and carpets,” he said. “With the housing market slowing down, we’re feeling an impact on all floor carpets.”

Andalusia’s plant No. 65 will not be the only plant affected by the inventory adjustment measure.

“We’re going to do the same thing at the other plants,” he said. “What happens is that you can’t take a day (off) here and a day there when you’re dealing with the extrusion operation of fibers. Nothing but an inventory adjustment will correct the overflow.”

Barron said in addition to the current temporary shutdown, the company plans to continue with its previous practice of closing over the Christmas holidays.

“Right now, we’re looking at a week, once again,” he said. “Typically that is the time when do our heavy machinery maintenance, so that is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just that this year, we’re going to have a little more down time than normal.”

This is the second time the company has made operational changes due to the economy.

In October 2007, the company cut production in response to a decrease in “supply and demand.” Approximately 140 people were affected by layoffs.