Managing Director and CEO Stuart Broadhurst assured staff the closure had nothing to do with their performance but was the direct result of "the harsh reality" that the factory is "no longer sustainable due to the lack of scale and cost-competitiveness the facility and its products face in today’s global whiteware marketplace.
“This factory would have closed much earlier, rather than experience a series of downsizings over recent years, if not for the loyalty and commitment of this team.”
Broadhurst says that while the planned closure was sad for Fisher & Paykel because of its long history of manufacturing in East Tamaki, it was sadder for the staff themselves and their families.
“Although it has been on everyone’s radar for a considerable period, we recognise this does not diminish the shock of this announcement at a personal level.
“Because of this factory’s proud history and the efforts of all the staff involved, this has been a very tough decision, although we expect it will come as no surprise to those familiar with manufacturing in the whiteware business.”
Indeed, you can compare this closure to Electrolux closing its Orange factory to be reminded of the tough economics of manufacturing these days.
Fisher & Paykel will continue to produce specialist componentry and production equipment in New Zealand.
In future, upgraded models of some of these refrigeration products will be manufactured at Fisher & Paykel’s plant in Thailand and through the wider Haier family in China.
The company will be looking to redeploy as many people as possible within the organisation and will also be liaising with external suppliers and retailers "about how best to navigate this period of transition".
Look out for more news about and around the East Tamaki campus in the coming days!