Office furniture for a quarter of the planet: Steelcase launches operations on land prepared by Accolade
Steelcase, a US company, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of office furniture, has started its new plant at a site prepared by the Accolade Group at Ostrov near Stříbro, Czech Republic. The company spent more than half a billion crowns to build the manufacturing facility, which currently employs 150 people and plans to double this number by the end of the year.
Steelcase President Jim Keane confirmed that his company chose the land prepared by the Accolade Group from among a number of sites both in and outside the Czech Republic. “We took a lot of things into consideration, including the availability of workforce, the infrastructure and the costs. Stříbro makes the best economic sense.”
“Stříbro is one of the most successful of all our industrial parks, not just those in the Czech Republic,” says Pavel Sovička, Managing Director of Panattoni Europe, confirming that interest in the Stříbro industrial zone is high. “In spite of excellent transport infrastructure, unemployment in the region remains relatively high. And this is a factor that attracts investors to the zone,” adds Sovička.
“We offered Steelcase a well-prepared site in the industrial park where they could start manufacturing within a couple of months. This speed contributed substantially to the fact that the new manufacturing building 27,000 square metres in size is located here, at Ostrov in the Tachov area,” says Milan Kratina, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Accolade Group.
“The entire manufacturing process is gradually being transferred to Ostrov near Stříbro from the plant at Durlangen, Germany, which will be closed by the end of the year,” says Steelcase Vice President Pierre Blesch, adding that production in the new Czech plant will be faster, better and more efficient than at Durlangen. Steelcase is already recruiting line operators and medium-level managerial staff. “By the end of this year we want to have 300 employees, including 250 operators,” said Helena Sanchez, Human Resources Manager.
Established 103 years ago at Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steelcase has been in the Czech market for 23 years. Its 2014 sales revenue was over 70 billion crowns. Steelcase spends huge amounts of money on research and development (more than two billion crowns over the last three years). The new plant in the Panattoni Park at Stříbro is one of the four Steelcase establishments in the Europe, Near East & Africa Region, the remaining three being at Rosenheim, Germany; Sarrebourg, France; and in Madrid, Spain. Since October, laminated chipboard furniture made at Ostrov near Stříbro has been exported to all parts of the Europe, Near East & Africa Region which, as the company’s President believes, has a high growth potential. “We expect much from Stříbro,” he concludes.