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Cottonsoft’s Longterm Investment In Manufacturing Facility

Press Release – Cottonsoft

In a reversal of the manufacturing decline afflicting New Zealands provinces, one Kiwi company is affirming its South Island presence with an investment in facilities and equipment that makes it self-sufficient in retail product manufacturing throughout …Cottonsoft Makes Longterm Investment In Manufacturing Facility

In a reversal of the manufacturing decline afflicting New Zealand’s provinces, one Kiwi company is affirming its South Island presence with an investment in facilities and equipment that makes it self-sufficient in retail product manufacturing throughout the island. Cottonsoft was established in Dunedin with its first tissue and toilet manufacturing plant in the mid-1980s, and later set up a sister operation in Auckland to combat the high cost of transporting product around the country.

Now, a four-year extension to the lease on the building the company has occupied since 1999, combined with new embossing rollers that enable the production of additional Cottonsoft brands Paseo and Tuffy, have endowed the Dunedin plant with capacity to meet the demand for Cottonsoft’s retail products throughout the island, a total production of 300 pallets per month.

The operational expansion has necessitated the employment of an additional staff member, and there is potential for more. This is heartening news for Dunedinites still reeling from downsizing and closure announcements from Kiwirail Hillside Workshops, NZ Post Regional Distribution Centre and Invermay Research Centre.

Cottonsoft’s South Island business thrived for many years, but more recently the Dunedin plant was not expected to survive. It has not only done so but is bucking the industry trend of centralized or offshore production – no Cottonsoft competitor has a manufacturing presence in the South Island.

As someone with roots in the region, Cottonsoft Country Manager Kim Calvert says, “I have a vested interest in keeping a strong business presence in Dunedin and expanding our base here – we regard this not only as great news for our business but also a good sign for the city and its economy.” 

Cottonsoft’s national operations manager Chris Batchelor, who is based in Dunedin, says the investment is against the tide of general industry decline in the city and wider region.

“There is a lot of bad news in the local economy, and for several years there was doubt about our viability here. Like other businesses we went through several rounds of redundancy, and we were renewing our lease for only a year at a time.

“However, we were able to prove our viability, and this investment represents a huge turnaround. The purchase of embossing rollers means we can now produce the Tuffy and new Paseo brands as well as CottonSofts and Kiwisoft, so we have eliminated the need to ship product from Auckland to the South Island, which removes a substantial operating cost and reduces our carbon footprint.

“Additionally, we have hired two new staff members, one in operations and the other in sales, for the first time in several years, and our landlord has invested in the business with improvements to the building and site, which we have enhanced with new signage. From our point of view, it consolidates our presence in Dunedin and represents a significant ongoing commitment to the city and wider region. We are very happy to have reached this point of stability in what is still a challenging time for the manufacturing sector.”

Like Mr Batchelor, most of the company’s 14 full-time Dunedin staff have been with the company 10-plus years, with a total 200 years of service. He notes that the responsibility of the staff has increased with one final change: the company’s Dunedin footprint has increased due to expanded warehousing in the city that replaces a previous Christchurch warehouse. Now, all South Island retail warehousing and distribution will be done from under one roof.

ENDS

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