In November 2015, Sinomax announced plans to invest $28 million to locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Tennessee. At 350 new jobs, the project represents the largest jobs commitment made by a Chinese-owned company in Tennessee’s history.
“When we first looked at putting a facility in the U.S., we visited over 20 potential sites and ultimately picked Tennessee for being so strategically located,” said Frank Chen, CEO of Sinomax USA. “Not only will we produce and distribute products from this location, we will also import products from China and distribute them from here because it makes more sense from a cost perspective.”
The deal was finalized in November, but Sinomax didn’t take possession of the building until January. In just a little more than four months, the team has worked hard to transform what was once a dull, dreary facility into what it is today. While renovations are ongoing and equipment continues to be installed, they are on track for completion before the end of the year.
“If you think about sleep and where you lay your head at the end of the day, cleanliness is key. Everything you see here wasn’t just painted. We basically took it all out and started over,” said Bruce Miller, vice president of operations for Sinomax USA. “We really wanted this facility to have that ‘wow-factor’ so that when our corporate customers visit, they can not only see how our product is made, but also our cleanliness, culture and how we hold our products to a high standard of quality.”
The upgrades Sinomax is making will turn the site into a state-of-the-art automated pour and fabrication facility. The 520,000 square foot facility is complete with a manufacturing area – which will eventually house four production lines – distribution space and 39 dock doors. Once renovations are complete, there will also be a large meeting space and showroom overlooking the distribution floor, a chemical storage unit and a lab to conduct burn and density testing.
Currently, Sinomax is operating one production line for its memory foam pillows, which are sold at major retailers throughout the country. “We started production a little over a month ago and are working on a large order that will need to ship through July. So, having just taken possession of the building at the beginning of the year, we were eager to bring in the equipment and get it tested and certified,” said Chen. “We are working to gradually increase our daily production to fulfill the high demand.”