DECATUR, AL — GE Appliances, a Haier company, announced recently a $115 million investment to expand its Decatur Refrigerator Plant in Decatur, AL. The investment will add 255 new jobs to the plant, bringing the total number of full-time employees to nearly 1,300.
The investment — made in partnership with the state of Alabama, the Morgan County Economic Development Association and the Tennessee Valley Authority — will help GE Appliances increase production to meet increasing demand for its top-freezer refrigerators and is the latest step by the business to fulfill its strategic goal of becoming the leading major appliances business in the U.S.
The expansion of the Decatur Plant is the most recent investment made by the business since becoming part of Haier, the world’s largest appliance brand, just two years ago. In 2018 alone, GE Appliances’ major investments have included: a $55 million expansion of a distribution center in Northern Georgia, announced June 14; the June 19 opening of a $45 million expansion and enhancement of a “smart” distribution center in Dallas, Texas; and a $10 million plant expansion in Selmer, Tennessee, in May, creating hundreds of jobs.
“Our announcement is great news for our business, the GE Appliances family in Decatur and the state of Alabama,” said Kevin Nolan, president and chief executive officer of GE Appliances. “Our $115 million investment in Decatur is a critical part of our plan to be the leading appliances business in the United States. We are already a huge part of the local Decatur community, and look forward to a continued partnership with Decatur and the entire state of Alabama for many years to come.”
The investment will significantly expand the plant and boost production capacity by 25 percent, making the Decatur Plant a “refrigerator super site” for GE Appliances.
Part of the investment will be used to acquire new 3D scanning technology and other “smart” automation and sensor technology that will provide the operations team with real-time data visualization tools that help them make better and faster production decisions. These tools will provide the Decatur Plant with the flexibility to add future product innovations and build on its leadership in product quality.
“The expansion being announced today by GE Appliances reflects the company’s deep commitment to its employees at the Decatur facility and to the state,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “We’re proud that this great company calls Alabama home, and we look forward to supporting the continued growth of a manufacturing location that has a substantial economic impact on the area.”
The Decatur Plant is the largest employer in Morgan County, Alabama. GE Appliances transacts approximately $95 million in business with suppliers across Alabama, a number that will grow with the construction of the expanded Decatur facility and the increase in production. As a result of the investment, over the next five years, the Decatur Plant is expected to increase its already substantial economic impact by an additional $2.2 billion.
“Today’s expansion announcement is a reflection of the company’s commitment to our Decatur community and a testament to the accomplishments of the GEA-Decatur team,” Decatur Plant Manager Renee Story said. “This investment means we will not only be able to welcome more than 250 new associates and enhance our skill level, but also expand our relationships with local suppliers. We appreciate support from the state of Alabama, the city of Decatur, the Morgan County Commission, the Morgan County Economic Development Association and the Tennessee Valley Authority in helping make this investment possible.”
The Decatur Plant is the highest-volume GE Appliances refrigerator plant. It manufactures both GE® and Hotpoint® brand products. Fostering a tradition of quality, excellence and quick response to customer needs, the Decatur Plant’s products are rated “number one in quality and dependability.” The investment provides the plant opportunities for continued growth for years to come.
“GE Appliances’ decision to make a significant reinvestment in its Decatur manufacturing center and expand its workforce are strong indicators of the confidence the company has in its Alabama operation,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This expansion project strengthens the long-term partnership we have built with GE Appliances and enhances the competitiveness of the Decatur facility.”