Latex Foam International L.L.C. plans to add two plants, one by early 2005 and another at a later date, to bring its operation closer to its customers.
The rubber latex mattress, pillow and cosmetic applicator manufacturer, which is in the midst of expanding capacity at its Shelton plant, is looking at several sites in the Southeast as the location for a factory.
The company, which operates a 208,000-sq.-ft. plant in Shelton and a factory in Los Angeles, did not say where the other new plant will be located or how much the entire expansion project will cost.
"This is a major step in the evolution of our company to become a more customer service-focused organization," said President and CEO Mike Lorelli. A facility in the Southeast, "in combination with our Connecticut and California sites, will enhance our ability to service the North American market by reducing time to delivery."
Meanwhile, the firm is adding a fifth line of latex presses and molds, which will give it about 20 percent more capacity, Frank Beafore, vice president of manufacturing and technology, said recently. A drying/curing oven also will undergo a major upgrade, he said.
The expansion should be completed in late 2004 and the line should begin operating in January, Beafore said.
In addition, Latex Foam is doubling the size of its dock area with the addition of three docks. The company's objective is to cut the time spent from the initial pouring of latex to the product's arrival on a truck to between 24 and 48 hours from five to 10 days.
The additional plants tie in with that plan, Beafore said.
To remain at the top of the high-end bedding segment, the company will follow its stated mission to focus on quality, service and innovation, Lorelli said. "To be the best in each area and to service the growth we've seen in latex bedding, it's critical we have the infrastructure to build and deliver product quickly."