Bibb firm employs 7,800 in 16 Georgia plants
There is a new look at Bibb Manufacturing Company in Georgia today.
The company which has a large operation here, is a leading textile manufacturer, with 16 plants in Georgia. Bibb employs 7,800 persons, with more than 2,000 of them in local plants.
A diversified textile firm, Bibb also operates plants in Macon, Forsyth, Reynolds, Columbus, Newnan and Sargent. General officers are in Macon, and sales offices are located in New York, Chicago, Akron, Philadelphia, Charlotte, N.C.; Dalton, Ga.; Arcadia, Calif; and Needham, Miss.;
Factors which have altered the company’s appearance during the past few years are:
1. A Closer movement toward the consumer products field.
2. Increased expenditures for plant renewals and additions, and on product research and development.
3. Reorganization of the Sales and marketing Departments.
4. Liberalized benefits for employees.
In the move to mold closer ties with the consumer products field, Bibb management in 1961 launched an ambitious program to upgrade products and operations. Marginal lines, which had seen a slowly deteriorate market, were downgraded in product preferences, and more profitable lines inaugurated. The Company entered the knitted goods field, and the blanket market. It became more active in woven goods of the fabric trade, and converted some of its manufacturing facilities into units for weaving synthetic yarns for the apparel field.
New loom capacity was added to consume yarn previously sold in a glutted market.
In step with this came the reorganization of the firm’s sales division. In 1963management created a Marketing Research Department as an adjunct of sales and built roomy, modern quarters for the unit’s 50-odd employees on the new third floor, which it added to its General Office Building in Macon.
Specialist for various market divisions were brought in to work with both salesmen and the manufacturing division in providing products which were deemed more acceptable to specific market conditions.
Bibb has more than 30 salesmen throughout the country, and sells goods in the United States and overseas.
As for modernization, the textile firm has spent more than $38 million for plant renewals and additions since 1955. More than $10 million of this figure was spent during the past fiscal year.
Research and development received renewed emphasis along with the revamping of Sales and Marketing. New personnel, experienced in this field, was obtained, and Bibb allocated several hundred thousands of dollars for its operation. Reasearch and Development recently acquired graduates form the Institute of Textile Technology, Charlottesville, Virginia, who have master degrees in the field.
For its 7,800 employees, Bibb has liberalized its benefits program, and now provides insurance, hospitalization, major medical hospital expense, and a retirement program. The company provided more than $5 million when the retirement program went into effect in order to extend coverage to a larger group of workers — employees who would reach retirement age of 65, but who would not have 25 years of service with Bibb.
Bibb has added four new plants since 1958: Bellevue Mill at Macon, which placed the Company into the woolen yarn business; Arnall and Arnco Plants at Newnan and Sargent, which gave it an entry into the blanket market; and a new one-story air conditioned plant at Forsyth, Georgia, which is expected to move it more into the synthetic carpet yarn field.
The new Forsyth plant, the second one in the City for Bibb, is just beginning operations, and is expected to get into full production during the coming year. It treats synthetic yarn for the carpet industry.
Bibb manufactures a wide range of textiles for industry home and people. Some of the products include: tufting yarns, carpet backing yards, wide sheeting and rug backing fabric for the floor covering field; yarns used in producing narrow fabric and belting, upholstery, mops, fuses, braiding, insulation; knitting and worsted yarns; cordage and twine; stretch fabrics, print cloth, narrow sheeting, semi-wide sheeting, enameling duck, decorative and upholstery fabrics, and others for the cloth and fabric fields; sheets and pillow cases; cotton, cotton-rayon-wool, rayon-nylon, rayon-acrylic and thermal blankets; and hose and belt cords, chafer fabric, tire cord fabric, belting fabrics for the rubber industry.
The Company has its own transportation department, which currently operates 21 over-the-road trucks, plus smaller vehicles at various plants. It employs the IBM computer system for inventory control and other needs, and owns sizeable tracts of land in the State.
Net sales were $99.6 million last year, and are expected to exceed that figure this year. Further increases are forecast for the coming fiscal year.
At last report, current assets at approximately $35.2 million exceed all liabilities (current liabilities of $5.7 million and deferred income taxes of $1.8 million) by some 4.7 times. Stockholders’ equity at $54.8 million was equivalent to $34.25 per common share. Capitalization consists solely of 1,600,00 common shares. Dividends have been paid every year since 1887. The annual rate was raised recently to $1.20 per share; a 15cent extra dividend was paid last year, and have been declared again for the year just ended.