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Fujifilm to consolidate, eliminate 400 Greenwood County jobs

Staff //July 1, 2021//

Fujifilm to consolidate, eliminate 400 Greenwood County jobs

Staff //July 1, 2021//

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Four hundred people in Greenwood County will soon be out of jobs.

Fujifilm, a Japanese corporation, is consolidating operations worldwide and plans to close four different manufacturing plants at the Greenwood campus by September 2022. Employees were informed earlier this morning, the company said in a news release. 

The decision was not based specifically on Greenwood’s operations or staff, but rather the plant’s products, said Greenwood County Economic Development Director James Bateman.

Greenwood manufactures recyclable cameras, inkjet photographic paper, color photographic paper and digital printing plates. Many of the county's functions will be rolled into other Fujifilm facilities, as well as to third parties, the company said in a news release. The consolidation comes after a comprehensive review of global facilities.

The Fujifilm manufacturing president met with Bateman and county members earlier today to inform them of the company’s decision, Bateman said.

“This was a market-driven decision for the company based on a decline in their product demand for longer than a year,” Bateman said. “For more than a year they’ve seen a decline in product demand and those markets are not coming back.”

Despite the consolidation, Fujifilm will maintain a presence in Greenwood, keeping on about 300 employees in various roles. The Japanese corporation set up shop in Greenwood County in 1988.

“Market economic trends and a declining demand for many of the products manufactured in Greenwood challenged us to focus on how we adapt our efforts to continue to build a global, sustainable approach for Fujifilm,” Todd Croker, president, Fujifilm Manufacturing USA Inc., said in a news release.

Fujifilm will support employees through severance packages, outplacement support as needed, and through any other company polices and values in place, the release said.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our respective businesses reinforced to us that we need to be even more focused on enhancing our capabilities to serve our customers from different manufacturing and distribution points throughout the world,” Croker said in the release. “This change provides us with more operating flexibility and ensures that we are optimizing use of our available manufacturing capacity.”

The volume of jobs lost is significant, Bateman said, but phasing the forced reductions over two years gives employees time to solidify next steps.

“We’ll work with them as each of those manufacturing facilities is closed down, for that group of employees to help them transition into other employment opportunities in high-demand fields with our local manufacturers here in Greenwood,” Bateman said.

Barbara Ann Heegan, Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said the layoffs provide an opportunity to help connect them with existing industries and employers to additional workers locally through Greenwood Together. The economic and community development cooperative works with city, county, chamber and tourism officials to collectively promote economic development.

“The chamber is taking the lead on a workforce strategic plan that we just had written where we’re trying to help fill all open positions throughout Greenwood County,” Heegan said.

Another plant owned by a Japanese company, Teijin, recently started hiring workers for its new carbon fiber plant across the highway from the Fujifilm campus.