John H. Harland Co. Closes Plants, Cuts Work Force

ATLANTA—Harland Printed Products, a division of John H. Harland Co., is planning to eliminate 500 jobs and close five of its manufacturing facilities.

The company is consolidating the number of its domestic manufacturing operations from 14 to nine, with the first plant closing planned for the first quarter of 2004 and the last closing in the third quarter of 2004.

In addition, Harland Printed Products will implement employee reductions beginning in the fourth quarter of 2003 and continuing throughout 2004. It is estimated that the reorganization will result in approximately 10 percent of its work force being eliminated.

“The efficiencies from digital technology have exceeded our expectations,” says John Heald, president of Harland Printed Products. “This, coupled with lower volumes, has created excess capacity in some of our production facilities. Our sophisticated production and mail management systems and centralized customer service operations and systems now enable us to maintain our high level of service from fewer plants.”

The company estimated plant closing expenses at $16.3 million, with $5.5 million to be recognized this year. The staff position cuts will cost about $6 million, with 25 percent of that coming this year.

Harland is best known as a check printer, but also produces financial software and educational testing products. This is the company’s second plant consolidation in seven years.

In 1996, Harland cut its work force by about 10 percent as it scaled back from an operation that included 40 check printing plants.

The decline of paper checks is expected to continue as more consumers shift to electronic banking. A recent Federal Reserve study indicated about 40 billion checks were written in the United States in 2002, down from about 50 billion in 1995.

The staff position cuts will cost about $6 million, with 25 percent of that coming this year.

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