Flanders Precisionaire, a maker of air filtration products, moved quickly to recover following a fire this summer that destroyed a facility in Bartow, Fla.

All efforts were made to salvage the building, said company officials, but it was a total loss. Plans were immediately put in place to locate another facility in which to continue operations. Internet searches were begun immediately following the July 10 fire and on-site tours of available facilities were undertaken.

A recovery management team from Flanders Precisionaire met with such agencies as the city of Bartow, Polk Works, and the Economic Development Council of Central Florida, all of whom provided information and assistance to the company. 

Meetings were also held with the Polk County Unemployment Agency and Children and Family Services to arrange resources for employees. A call number was established for employees to update them on the situation.

One day after the fire, Flanders transitioned all of the open orders that were assigned to the Florida facility into their other nine locations for continued service.

By adding an additional manufacturing shift at all three of its North Carolina locations, Flanders was able to continue to service the Southeast.

“We were able to react quickly and transition orders for immediate manufacturing due to our other strategically located manufacturing locations,” said Patti Ellingson, director of wholesale and national accounts. “We are doing everything in our power to fill orders as quickly as possible.

“We have added equipment and employees to our North Carolina facilities and have a strategic plan of action to get our Florida manufacturing facility up and running within the next few months.

“We are on a fast track to rebuild the Florida facility, which in turn will reduce the demand at our other locations allowing for better service levels.”

The company is also utilizing temporary facilities. A 130,000-square-foot building in Lake Wales, Fla., 20 minutes east of the Bartow site, has been configured to manufacture commercial and industrial products. It is equipped with three high-speed lines for panel filters, twelve towers for pleated products, supporting equipment, a custom department, and pads and rolls.

A 36,000-square-foot facility, located across the street from the Bartow site, had been utilized as a finished goods annex and now is manufacturing retail pleated products.

As a long-term goal, Flanders Precisionaire is planning to either rebuild on the Bartow site, or on another site within the surrounding area, officials said.

Publication date:09/17/2007