In midst of downturn, PPG opens efficient new facility
Executives of PPG Industries, the paint and glass manufacturer headquartered in Pittsburgh, say they’re in the middle of the toughest market that any of them can remember.
The company, which has an 11 percent share of the market for paint in the United States, draws nearly 70 percent of its business from housing-related sales and those sales are in the midst of a historic slump.
But PPG thinks its new plant at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Sparks positions the company to increase sales even before the housing industry recovers.
The 95,000-square-foot facility can manufacture up to 15 million gallons of water-based latex paint a year. It currently employs about 25, and PPG expects to add 15 to 20 more workers as the plant gets into full operation.
Leading visitors on tours last week, Plant Manager Terry McGinnis noted the facility is highly automated. Only a couple of workers are required, for instance, to operate the production line in which paint cans are labeled, filled, and prepared for shipment on shrink-wrapped pallets.
The plant is the first paint plant built by PPG in more than 30 years, and McGinnis said it takes advantage of technological advances such as computer-controlled batch mixing systems. The facility can mix batches of paint as large as 10,000 gallons at a time.
About half the facility is devoted to storage of raw ingredients and an indoor tank farm for wet ingredients. The mixing and can-filling operation occupies the other half of the plant.
It will serve independent paint dealers, home improvement chains and company-owned stores in 12 Western states.
PPG operates Western distribution centers in Southern California and the Portland, Ore., area, and contracts with a third-party logistics provider in northern Nevada.
The company owns 22 acres at TRIC, and McGinnis said the 13 acres that currently stand undeveloped someday might be used to develop distribution facilities or to expand manufacturing operations.
Scott Sinetar, vice president of PPG’s architectural coatings operations for North America, said the company historically has seen stronger sales in the Eastern United States than it has seen in the West, and PPG hopes the northern Nevada facility will strengthen its sales in the West.
The plant was built by F&P Construction of Reno, UCI Construction of Martinez, Calif., and Spanda Industrial of Sacramento.
When construction began on the plant in 2006, the Northern Nevada Development Authority estimated its first-year economic impact on the region at $9.8 million.
As of April 7, Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks received over 350 complaints about non-essential businesses remaining open. Compliance staff is investigating and giving initial courtesy notices — no citations have yet been given.