Next Quebecor World Mega-facility--Buffalo
BUFFALO, NY—As the industry watches Quebecor World realign its operations, the process has become almost like a sweepstakes, with many plants around the country hoping to become the conglomerate's next "mega-facility." The most recent winner is the plant here, which will be expanded to produce mass-market paperback books, including AAA tour books, as well as newspaper inserts and coupon books.
The 850,000-square-foot Buffalo facility is ISO 9002 certified and currently employs approximately 900 workers. Officials say the expansion will create more than 400 new jobs in the area.
"This major expansion is part of Quebecor World's strategy to consolidate operations into larger and more specialized plants," states Kevin J. Clarke, vice president and general manager of the site here, now known as Quebecor World Buffalo. "By creating this 'mega-facility,' we can achieve greater efficiency and increased economies of scale, as well as position ourselves to better serve our customers."
Officials say several factors were behind the choice of Buffalo as the site of this mega-facility. One of the most critical was the signing of a nine-year labor contract with the plant's unions. In a public statement, David S. Boles, president of the Retail and Sunday Magazine Group for Quebecor World's North American operations, applauded the unions' "progressive approach to this agreement, which has yielded many beneficiaries including current and future employees, the union itself, Quebecor World and our Buffalo plant customers."
The expansion of the Buffalo plant will involve an investment of approximately US$15 million. This amount, which includes New York State and Erie County subsidies, comprises the cost of equipment relocation, environmental upgrades, and the hiring and training of new and existing employees. When all of Quebecor World's U.S. mass-market paperback manufacturing and distribution operations are consolidated at the Buffalo facility, volume will increase to more than 400 million books annually.
Printing capacity for newspaper inserts and circulars will increase by approximately 50 percent through the addition of two wide-web gravure presses.
The project has already begun and Quebecor World officials expect it will be completed by the end of the year. A manufacturing transition team has also been put in place to ensure a smooth transition of work to the Buffalo plant.
New York State and Erie County officials, who helped secure important financial incentives, expressed satisfaction with Quebecor's plans. New York Gov. George Pataki notes that the project reflects "our commitment to work together with business, [and] also demonstrates what can be accomplished when the state, labor unions and private industry work together."
Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra, whose administration will provide tax exemptions and other assistance totalling $1 million, says he asked both Quebecor management and labor to spread the word about the new business climate in Western New York. "We stand ready to facilitate investment, especially by companies that already know the value of our Erie County workforce," notes Giambra.