On February 16th, Hershey announced that they intend to close their chocolate factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario. The factory is about an hour-and-a-half's drive from my home in Ottawa, and as careful planning would have it—I was there today. (The photo of a lamp post that I took, shown to the left, provides some evidence of this.)
Like most members of our species, I have—shall we say—"a thing" for chocolate, and Hershey's make some very delectable chocolate treats. I happily carted home several kilos of the stuff from the Hershey Chocolate Shoppe that is attached to the factory. The Visitor's Center also features a "free self-guided tour from an elevated viewing gallery" to see the treats in production, which is pretty cool.
What isn't so cool is that a total of about 500 people will lose their jobs with the closure of the factory. As I understand it, 100 positions have already been eliminated and eventually about 400 more people will lose their jobs.
Incidentally, the population of Smiths Falls is roughly 10,000. The closure is expected to be devasting to the town. The outrage has only just begun.
This is only part of what Hershey calls a "Global Supply Chain Transformation". One of the cornerstones of this program is to:
Construct a flexible, cost-effective production facility in Monterrey, Mexico to meet current and emerging marketplace needs.Hmmm ... "cost effective". Umm, does that include all the costs?
Here are a couple of other lines selected not-entirely at random from Hershey's description of how they plan to transform their global supply chain. First:
The program will result in a total net reduction of approximately 1,500 positions across Hershey's supply chain over the next three years.And the second, a quote from David J. West, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer:
We recently announced a manufacturing joint venture in China with Lotte Confectionery Company, another step in our disciplined global expansion.
Update 29-Mar-2007: "Hope impedes retraining for Smiths Falls Hershey workers".