January 7/14, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 16
By Reginald Tucker
Arte Mundi China, one of the largest manufacturers of engineered hardwood flooring in China, is in the process of building a hardwood flooring finishing plant in Chino, Calif. The new, 54,000-square foot, state-of-the-art facility is located about 30 minutes from the company’s U.S. headquarters, which not only serves as an international business center but also as an incubator for future artists, engineers and designers.
Upon completion, which is expected in the second quarter of 2019, the plant will handle both finishing and automated packaging of products manufactured and shipped from Arte Mundi’s manufacturing sites in Asia and via its manufacturer partner on the East Coast U.S. The new facility will allow the company to produce custom flooring that continues to meet high standards in finishes, widths, lengths and coatings in less time. This will also aid in reducing inventory pressure for customers while ensuring consistency in colors and stable pricing.
“The unknown tariffs and countless issues the industry has faced creates a perfect environment to start production here in the U.S.,” said John Lee, CEO of Arte Mundi. “We will still manufacture products in China and ship them to the U.S., but at a cost that will need to adjust due to uncertain tariffs and duties. We feel that with all of the turmoil of the import duties, anti-dumping duties and tariffs, it is time to make the move. And since the majority of our woods are sourced from the U.S., we will not be faced with the additional tariffs we presently encounter.”
When taking the building and finishing equipment into account, the new plant represents an investment of approximately $10 million. Arte Mundi anticipates it will create 25 jobs entailing mostly local labor.
Initial finishing production capacity is estimated at 40,000 square feet per day, with a maximum projected production capacity of 60,000 square feet per day over the course of a one-shift, 10-hour day. “In the future, we will have the flexibility to increase capacity if necessary,” said Louis Kao, a partner with Arte Mundi. “We expect to add four more production lines by the end of 2020.”
One of the primary benefits the new finishing and packaging plant will offer consumers is shorter delivery times. “We will be able to deliver products more quickly compared to buying from an importer,” Kao stated. “Second, it means less inventory that our distributors and clients will have to carry. Third, our products will stay competitive with imports due to the domestic production and finishing capabilities.”
Another benefit the company expects to realize is a more consistent source of supply. “By producing the product here, it will be easier for us to control the color and finishes consistency for all of our partners,” Lee said. “And in terms of logistics, the new plant will improve service to customers on the West Coast and in the Midwest.”
Arte Mundi’s new U.S. finishing plant will serve as an extension of the company’s facilities in China, where it produces roughly 120,000 square feet per day. That represents more than 165 SKUs offered to customers here in the U.S., mostly on a private-label basis. The company also supplies more than 1,000 Arte Mundi retail partners in Asia.
Legacy of design innovation
Established in 1997, Arte Mundi (Latin for “World of Art”) specializes in engineered hardwood flooring products. At Surfaces 2018, the company showcased eye-catching products such as hardwood flooring in denim blue patterns as well as floors embedded with Swarovski crystals. (In fact, Arte Mundi is the only authorized wood flooring manufacturer permitted to incorporate Swarovski crystal elements in its flooring product lines.) Last year, the company earned a Surfaces award for best small booth.
“At Arte Mundi, we believe hardwood flooring is so much more than just floor covering; it embodies an overall ambience, a statement of art and, most importantly, a lifestyle,” Kao said. “Plus, all Arte Mundi wood floor components are environmentally and responsibly sourced.”