DAYTON, Tenn. — Nokian Tyres P.L.C. is producing tires around the clock after the recent addition of a fourth production shift at its North American factory.
The company said it aims to reduce delivery lead times to North American customers. The Dayton plant produces all-season and all-weather tires, such as the Nokian Tyres One, an all-season passenger tire launched in January.
"Adding third- and fourth-production shifts allows us to keep pace with production goals that will help us grow our presence in North America," David Korda, factory operations director, said. "We're pleased with the quantity and quality of workers we've added this year, and we're eager to help them thrive as our company grows."
Nokian began producing tires 24/7 at its Southeast Tennessee campus in Dayton on July 12. The global tiremaker has hired around 150 employees since the start of 2021 and added a third production shift in mid-May. The plant employs around 300 people.
"We aim to make 1 million tires at the factory this year, and we are well on our way to hitting our long-term production and workforce goals there," Tommi Heinonen, vice president of sales, Nokian Tyres North America, told Tire Business in June.
The company said the creation of a fourth shift is in line with Nokian's long-term ramp-up strategy at the factory, where it plans to make as many as four million tires annually and employ up to 400 workers once the facility reaches full capacity.
A Nokian spokesperson said they still need to hire around 100 employees and add some other production machinery within the factory's existing footprint to reach full capacity. The company aims to reach that goal in the next 2-3 years, which is in line with the original ramp-up plan when the plant opened, the company said.
A big focus at the plant is on-boarding and finding quality workers, the spokesperson said.
"We've actively pursued workers by mixing earned media activity in Southeast Tennessee, relationships in the Southeast Tennessee education community and a modest amount of digital and local advertising," the spokesperson said. "Despite a challenging job market, we've had success in our outreach: We received approximately 1,300 applications for the latest round of nearly 150 jobs. We attribute that success to offering competitive wages, career advancement opportunities and a safe, sustainable work environment."
Nokian started production at the Dayton factory in January 2020 to serve rising demand for its products in the North American market.
Nokian's U.S. production, the company said, is in line with its core values of safety and sustainability. All three of Nokian's global factories — located in Finland, Russia and the U.S. — hold ISO 14001 certification, the international standard for environmental management systems. The Dayton plant recently received its certification.
"ISO 14001 certification is another testament to the fact that we are one of the most sustainable tire manufacturers in the world," said Dayton Factory Environmental, Health and Safety Manager Darren Bakkestuen. "It's pretty rare that we got through the assessment without any major findings."
Sustainable efforts at the sprawling Southeast Tennessee campus include:
The production building holds LEED v4 Silver certification. Nokian said it's the only tire factory in the world to achieve that milestone;
Solar panels anchored in the parking lot provide power to the administration building and generate energy for a portion of the production;
Three-megawatt panels generate approximately 4,000 megawatt-hours of energy each year, enough to power more than 500 homes;
The administration building achieved LEED v4 Gold certification;
The building's innovation in design, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Design innovations include solar power, low-emitting building materials and a high level of natural lighting throughout the facility; and
A 2.5-acre green space flanks the entrance of the administration building, complete with trees, a pond and walking paths.
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