Lenovo locates new PC manufacturing plant in North Carolina
Chinese company moves production back to get closer to U.S. market
Almost a decade ago, Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo purchased controlling interest in IBM's ThinkPad line of PCs, changing the landscape for the personal computer market worldwide and setting off a heated debate about foreign manufacturing of U.S. products.
On June 5, Lenovo officially opened its first PC manufacturing plant in Whitsell, N.C. in an event attended by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and a host of company and regional officials, all of whom were anxious to praise Lenovo for moving part of their production operation to the U.S.
Lenovo will add 115 manufacturing jobs by the time the plant is fully operational later this month. The facility in Whitsell already houses logistics and a customer solution center, as well as the national returns center.
“Lenovo’s bold move to develop the long-term strength of the American PC market defies the decades-old trend of U.S. electronics firms relying on overseas facilities for manufacturing and other outsourced functions,” the company said in a press release. “The new manufacturing line arms Lenovo with the capability to deliver products to customers with even greater efficiency and reliability.”
“I am proud that Lenovo is continuing to invest in North Carolina, bringing needed jobs to the Greensboro area and providing a foundation for future economic growth in our state,” said McCrory. “Lenovo has been producing innovative and exciting products around the world and now they are in North Carolina’s backyard and we’re fortunate to have them.”
“Lenovo has achieved record growth and market share in the U.S. PC market, and the Whitsett manufacturing facility will enable us to further expand our presence here,” said Yuanqing Yang, chairman and CEO, Lenovo. “The facility is a demonstration of our commitment to and confidence in the North American market, and we see tremendous opportunities for the continued growth and development of our manufacturing footprint here in the United States.”
“Our in-house manufacturing strategy gives us control over both product development and supply chain operations. This type of vertical integration is a source of competitive advantage for Lenovo. With the PC manufacturing facility in the U.S., we are able to provide an enhanced customer experience by offering specialized services that our North America customers value,” said Gerry Smith, the former head of Lenovo’s Global Supply Chain and now president of Lenovo Americas.
As part of its grand opening celebration, Lenovo donated 36 ThinkCentre Desktops made in Whitsett to the Greensboro YMCA to be used for youth development and education programs.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.