On May 17th, 2018, Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America officially opened the doors on its newly constructed Gearbox (GB) Center of Excellence located in Verona, VA. This facility represents a $1.2 million investment.
The previous facility, which is just next-door, didn't provide SMA with the flexibility for the growth needed to meet corporate goals and market demands. SMA has a goal to be the GB leader of the America's, so this is a much needed expansion as we strive to meet that goal. The new 72,000 square foot building, which is approximately 50% larger, provides the opportunity to increase capacity by optimizing inventory and streamlining assembly processes. The new building will provide the capacity to build up to 100 units per month, and an additional bay next door gives the ability to expand in the future, should it become necessary to increase the footprint.
SMA will build both Paramax and Hansen products in this facility, and can accommodate quick ships as well as highly customized units. An assembly line specifically dedicated to quick ships has been created, with the intent of shipping units in 1-2 weeks. The facility also provides the ability to service all of SMA units in-house, which assists in achieving the goal to become service provider that all SMA customers can trust.
The new facility and new equipment in it creates a need to provide training to staff in order to operate safely and productively. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VDEP) will support SMAs retraining efforts through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). VJIP provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs or experiencing technological change to support employee training activities. VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia's commitment to enhancing job opportunities for its citizens.