BLUFFTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The vice president of global operations for Michigan-based Inteva Products says the decision to locate its newest facility in northeast Indiana was the result of an exhaustive 10-month process. The company announced plans Wednesday morning to invest more than $42 million to establish manufacturing operations in Bluffton and create up to 419 jobs by the end of 2023. Steve Galle says the new location will have the ability to accommodate future growth and expansion.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Galle said there were three main factors that led to the selection of the Wells County site.
“The reason for the area in question is proximity to key customers for the product that we are considering; we’re going to be making interior products so it’s important that we are close in proximity to our key customers,” said Galle. “We had a very successful project planning activity with regional and local resources from entities like the economic development groups, city councils, (and) county commissioners. And last is the point of having immediate access to open floor space of the size and shape and capacity (facilitating) what we needed for our project.”
Inteva Products plans to use the 260,000-square-foot facility for the manufacture and assembly of interior systems products for the automotive industry. The company expects to begin hiring for a variety of positions this summer, with the plant becoming fully operational in the summer of 2021.
Galle says, despite Indiana’s unemployment rate hitting a 20-year low in January, the company will be able to fulfill its workforce needs for the facility.
“Low unemployment rates are not unfamiliar territory for where we have established our manufacturing footprint. It’s a challenge almost in every startup that we do and ongoing operations that we have so we’re not unfamiliar with it but it’s not a scary thing for us. We feel confident in our abilities to attract and develop key talent; that has not been a problem for us. At the same time, (we’re) keeping good stewardship with partners in the region where we operate.”
The Bluffton facility, Galle adds, will have the flexibility to add more production capacity as demand for the company’s products grows. He says Inteva is always looking at the possibility for additional facilities as well.
“As an ongoing strategy and tactical planning inside of our company, we are always looking at floor space needs that we have both within (Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) as well as beyond that. We are a global company and it’s an active process.”