Flexible polyurethane foam, soft goods and finished products supplier Sinomax USA Inc., based in Houston, received Walmart’s first “Investing in American Jobs Supplier Challenge Award” in February at the Walmart Supplier Growth Forum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Sinomax USA was the winner out of more than 100 companies that submitted qualifying criteria for the award. Walmart pledged in 2013 to buy an additional $250 billion in U.S.-made products that support the creation of 1 million American jobs by the year 2023. In November 2016, Walmart announced the “Investing in American Jobs Supplier Challenge.” All suppliers with a U.S. manufacturing presence were challenged to present their efforts in expanding factories, creating jobs and taking risks to bring their customers U.S.-made products.
In 2015, Sinomax USA secured a 505,000-square-foot former Whirlpool distribution facility in La Vergne, Tennessee, near Nashville that was shuttered in 2008. With its $28 million investment and incentives from state and local governments, Sinomax USA turned the facility into a foam factory that began production in midspring 2016. In February, the factory began shipping to Walmart stores in the United States and shipping to stores across North America.
“Investing in American jobs is the culmination of years of competitive evolution supplying our major retail partners,” said Frank Chen, president and chief executive officer of Sinomax USA. “Sinomax USA began supplying Walmart in 2007 through our company-owned facilities in China. Rising costs, as well as longer lead times for product launches, made investing in a manufacturing site in the United States more attractive. With a team of qualified engineers, as well as product development, quality assurance, production teams and front-office staff, we have been able to create an additional 350 new manufacturing jobs in the United States, with competitive wages and benefits. Our investment in U.S. jobs in Nashville was recognized as the largest job creation in Tennessee by a Chinese company.”
Sinomax pours foam for pillows, mattresses and toppers at its Tennessee facility, but it also continues production in China. The company says it buys as many of its components from the U.S. as possible, including most chemicals, packaging, printed materials and covers for mattresses. It also has some products that combine an imported cover with a U.S.-made foam pillow or topper.