Unox, a FEDA manufacturer member headquartered in Padua, Italy, is constructing a new assembly facility near Charlotte, North Carolina. The project is a response to growing demand in the North American market and a way to get ahead of supply chain challenges forecast to continue into 2023.
While many equipment and supply companies continue to be affected by shipping delays, material and labor shortages, and production backlogs, Unox's strategy is to overcome these challenges through lean vertical integration, a model the company adopted since its inception in 1990. Eighty-five percent of every Unox oven is made in-house, either in the company’s primary manufacturing facility or through one of its subsidiary companies that manufactures specific parts and components.
“From metal to circuit boards to detergents and many other key components, we have integrated almost everything into our manufacturing process,” Global CEO Nicola Michelon said. “This gives us more control in the overall product quality as well as the time involved to fulfill orders. It means we’re much less vulnerable to delays and backlogs.”
While the components will continue to be manufactured in Italy for the time being, the plan is to bring substantial stock to the Americas to be housed in the North Carolina assembly plant. According to Mark Klindera, president of Unox, USA, this will create a smoother, more cost-effective flow for fulfilling a growing number of orders in the North American market.
“The primary benefit of bringing production to the U.S. is being able to get finished products to our customers on this side of the world more quickly,” he said. “Components from our Italian subsidiaries can be housed in the North Carolina assembly plant, making parts easily accessible and creating a faster line of production. Then once the ovens are assembled, domestic shipping will save time and costs for U.S.-based customers. It’s a win-win.”
In addition to improving the production process, the new facility will also mean expanded job opportunities in the Charlotte area. The state-of-the-art building is projected to bring 30 new jobs to the region, including positions related to engineering, research and development, technical support, sales, production and warehouse management.
“We’re growing in so many ways,” Klindera said. “We’ve also recently expanded our sales and marketing team, and technical support team. True growth doesn’t happen in a bubble; if one aspect of the company is growing, others will surely be impacted and grow as well. This is very good news for Unox, USA and the Unox brand as a whole.”
Construction of the new production facility has just begun, with operations estimated to begin in Q1 2023.