With the Nissan project underway, it’s no wonder the people of Canton and of Mississippi are excited about the new opportunities that will abound when it opens. The many suppliers that have already moved into the area are just one of many positive occurrences that the Nissan plant has afforded.
But many tend to forget about the opportunities that other existing businesses and industry in Canton have also brought to the region and to the state. It was the Levi Strauss Customer Service Center (CSC), for example, that became the first of many businesses to locate in the Central Mississippi Industrial Park in Gluckstadt in 1981.
Patrick Emanuel, executive director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce/Main Street, hopes the decision of Levi Strauss to locate a CSC in Gluckstadt will never be forgotten and he is currently working with the CSC to make the region as well as the state a better place to live.
The Levi Strauss CSC moved to Gluckstadt 21 years ago as a result of a grant obtained by the city government and a tax abatement. The company has had a significant presence and positive impact to the State of Mississippi and Canton since it began operations. Housed in a one million-square-foot facility, the CSC operations currently employ more than 320. Now with a new senior resource director hired to oversee operations, Emanuel is hoping the company will have even more of a positive impact on Canton and on the state.
“Everyone’s all excited about Nissan, but we’ve had heavy hitters who’ve been here way before that,” Emanuel said.
“Nissan didn’t put us on the map. We’re going to gain immeasurably by having this project come to Canton and to the State of Mississippi, no doubt. But Levi is making sure that as we grow and move forward that they’re as much a part of that as anyone else.”
And Levi is doing that through their Community Involvement Team, which is comprised of CSC employees who proactively and proudly support various local charitable organizations, as well as through their membership in the local chambers of commerce.
“Our plan is to continue increasing our community involvement and financial support in the same way we recently increased our support and funding of the Canton Chamber of Commerce,” said CSC senior resource director Bryan Wehner. “I believe that our relationship with the Canton Chamber of Commerce’s executive director Patrick Emanuel and our continued support of the local chamber is instrumental to the economic development efforts of this wonderful community.”
The primary objective of the CSC is to provide Levi Strauss retail customers such as JCPenney, Sears, Dillards and others with world-class service. The national distribution centers like the one in Gluckstadt are key components of the company’s market-driven, customer-focused strategies. Wehner said the logistics organization is a key component to the stability and continued growth of Levi Strauss and the Gluckstadt CSC is a key component of that commitment to growth.
“We are increasing our internal efficiencies and improving our facility technologies in order to meet our organization commitment to improve customer service,” Wehner said. “These upgrades will improve our distribution speed, flexibility and order accuracy. Our goal is to ensure that every customer service and cost matrix is consistently exceeded. This improves our overall supply chain capacity which means cost savings for our company and improved service for customers.”
Technology and infrastructure will help to accomplish these goals, Wehner said, but it is the people who really drive the success of the Gluckstadt CSC. And that is something Levi has taken notice of. Already the company is making state- of-the-art operating systems upgrades to the Gluckstadt CSC and improving common areas and associate break rooms. Wehner would like to add to that by updating the CSC’s interior d