Wesseler said Delta focuses on high-quality products, and the local employees have built a reputation for quality and efficiency.
“We have shown … that we were able to drive improvements,” he said.
Finishing a part now takes a day, down from three days a few years earlier, Wesseler said. Part of that reduction was the result of rearranging processes within the plant and eliminating the boxing of parts before they are moved to another station to be unboxed, each time with employees handling the components. Today, a lot of the parts are moved onto racks by machines and quickly transferred to the next processing area.
And through the years of employment decline, as processes were moved to other plants within the Delta family, the 384,000-square-foot local plant also had enough space to accommodate more capacity — and a completely different product: tubs for baths and showers.
About a third of the plant’s employees now work in a revamped area of the plant that features large new machines that turn thin sheets of plastic into durable tubs and baths that people can buy at home improvement stores.
To convince the company to bring those jobs to Greensburg, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. provided training grants and tax credits, so long as the company hires Hoosiers. Decatur County Council approved five-year tax abatement, which phases in the property taxes the company has to pay on its new investments. In the first year, the company pays no taxes on the assessed valuation of the new building upgrades and machinery, but with each subsequent year, the company pays 20 percent more of the tax bill than in the prior year so that in the second year it pays 20 percent, in the third year 40 percent and so on, until in the sixth year, it pays the full tax bill for that year.