SIG SAUER Cites Energy Costs in Arkansas Expansion Plans

SIG SAUER Arkansas

SIG SAUER Arkansas

SIG SAUER is making a bit more noise in the news about the expansion out of the Northeast we mentioned earlier this year. The Newington, New Hampshire based firearms, ammunition, and accessories company is building a 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

The director of facilities for SIG SAUER, Jeff Chierepko, told WMUR’s Fred Kocher that New Hampshire was the first choice for any SIG SAUER expansion, but that energy costs made the Jacksonville, Arkansas area a much more economical choice for the firearms company.

Related: SIG P320 Selected as new US Army Handgun.

In New Hampshire power reportedly costs around 12.33 cents per kilowatt hour, while in Arkansas SIG SAUER expects to pay 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Jeff Chierepko puts the power savings at over one million dollars every year. Those are the kinds of operating costs that lead companies to move to friendlier economic regions.

It is also being reported that SIG SAUER also has issues with finding good workers for it’s New Hampshire facilities. SIG SAUER employs about 1400 people in the Granite State, but despite their community college training program and other recruiting efforts, there are still over 200 jobs in New Hampshire that are sitting vacant right now.

You can read all about it, and see the video, here at WMUR.com.



Scott is a firearms enthusiast and gun hobbyist whose primary interest is the practical application of gun ownership. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he hosts and blogs for The Firearms Podcast, a podcast and blog about gun stuff by gun people. Scott is a 20-year veteran of the USAF and been a member of his base, state and the All Guard marksmanship teams. He can be reached via email at scott@thefirearmspodcast.com


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  • datimes

    I wonder how much of the cost differential is attributed to taxes, regulation, wages & benefits etc.

    • codfilet

      I’m sure this is all about moving to a place where they can pay skilled people less .

      • Jambo

        Well, labor is probably one of the only places to save money nowadays. The other things pretty much have a set price. I’m also suspicious of the claim that they have 200 job openings and no one to fill them. I’m sure there are people to fill them, they just find better-paid positions elsewhere.

        • Anomanom

          Not a large surprise. Starting with about GenX, you have a group of
          people whose parents worked in the factory or the restaurant or the
          shop, but those parents told their offspring to “work hard in the
          school” and “go to university” so that their kids wouldn’t have to work
          in the factory, the restaurant, and the shop. So now you have 2-3 generations in that learned growing up that manual labour jobs equated to failure. Now the factory work generations are aging out, it is more difficult to replace them.

          • Herr Wolf

            If you pay a quality wage you will get a quality employee

          • Rick O’Shay

            You won’t get a quality employee until they learn the trade and get the hands-on experience. But you have this new generation coming in, who is convinced that because they got the education, they should somehow make a ton of money as a result. They’re not willing to start at the bottom and work their way up, because they view college as a shortcut to circumvent that.

          • RealitiCzech

            When you graduate college with an uncancelable pile of debt equal to a new Mercedes, you need a ton of money to start with.

          • Rick O’Shay

            Getting useless degrees in “liberal arts” and expecting it to make tons of money doesn’t help, either.

          • Kafir1911

            Degrees in African Studies, Womens History and Underwater Basket Weaving are not in high demand.

          • Duro Sig

            Well said. I wanted to work for Sig and so I checked some of their positions. Needless to say, the pay wasn’t great.

      • If people have the skills needed to fill the jobs and will take the job at the wage offered, this is how the free market works. It’s only union people who tend to overvalue their skills and use a CBA to inflate wages above market value. When that inflation occurs, companies will pack up and leave – it’s not 1938 anymore. They have every incentive to leave given the cost of labor in relationship to the cost of the goods being sold. There is a lot that can be learned about the goose that laid the golden egg. Sometimes the goose will fly south instead of being killed.

        Now, wages are a funny thing. Purchasing power varies a lot even with a small move such as 100 miles. So a lower wage in Arkansas might mean great purchasing power than a higher wage in a New Hampshire. In other words, lower paid employees in AR live better than higher paid employees in NH.

        Another interesting thing about NH and AR, nearly 1 in every 2 NH residents has a bachelors degree or higher. In AR that number is less than 1 in 4. Maybe there just aren’t that many college graduates in NH who want to work on a production line.

        One last fun thing. Jacksonville, Arkansas is inside the Census CSA of Little Rock and just north of the city (11 miles), an area with just under one million residents. Epping is a town of just over 6000, with fewer than 200 unemployed residents (census data). So yeah, I would believe Sig’s story about a lack of job seekers to fill the positions.

        • Smedley54

          You’re correct, but Arkansas has benefited from other manufacturers fleeing unions and higher wage scales in the north, only to see them move on to Mexico and even lower wages and more permissive pollution standards. Don’t kid yourself – under NAFTA, non-union, lower wage southern states are only a stop along the way out of the country.

          • some oter joe

            Unless you’re manufacturing rifles and have to re-manufacture domestically them to sell them in the US….
            Or we repeal the 1989 import ban

      • Texas-Roll-Over

        While this it is true that this may have been factor, it by no means is a bad thing. They’re not closing the current facility down, they’re expanding in a new state..

        Weather: People don’t want to live on the planet Hoth. Supply chain is also a huge problem and consideration with regards to weather. Which leads into another key point.

        Distribution network: Memphis, TN is less than 130 miles away. This proximity to the distribution hub allows for materials to be transferred more efficiently.Weather in the south is usually much warmer and easier on a company’s supply chain.

        Labor. Labor rates are much less, no doubt a factor in their decision making process. Southern states also, typically do not have as many labor unions.

        Strategic Level: Remington’s ammunition facility is located in Lonoke, AR… which is just down the street. So with this in mind there is a high probability that this location was one of many possible choices for the company. Taking personnel away from a competitor is a consideration. As well as the fact that the state is already happy to have firearms & ammo manufacturers, which also most likely helped aid in the decision making process.

        State Level: Like many other states, AR most likely enticed them heavily with different incentives and tax breaks. This happened with Steyr and Remington in AL, Beretta in TN, K-USA, CAA, Hartman in FL, the list goes on. AR is typically a republican state as well.

        Its never so simple when moving, opening, transferring, or consolidating companies. There probably was a list of pro’s and con’s to opening a new facility in another state, among so many southern states now battling for more industrial jobs.

      • uncle fester

        For many companies, having access to skilled labor is critical to survival. They tend to pay employees fairly.

        As a resident of New England, I can confirm that energy costs in the NE are very high. Most gun manufacturers won’t even consider CT for new plants.

        • Kafir1911

          My issue with the NE is the raging anti-gun hysteria.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        And to a location where the decreased salary also comes with a lower cost of living.

        • codfilet

          So New Sigs will be much cheaper?

          • Nashvone

            Put the crack pipe down and step away from the keyboard.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            No but profits will increase

          • Harry’s Holsters

            For ammo maybe

          • Anonymoose

            No, they will probably go up in price. :^)

  • Rodney Jenkins

    I wish they would me to PA

    • Our labor, regulatory, and tax system does not favor a heavy investment in new facilities. The property taxes, specifically school taxes are skyrocketing due to the increasing PSERS contribution rate. PA is a dying state.

    • Brick

      I was thinking the same. I guess the Lehigh Valley is still too expensive?

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Ive always been amazed at the number of gun manufacturers located in states that are politically left leaning.

    • B-Sabre

      They weren’t necessarily left-leaning when the firearms companies established themselves in those states.

    • John

      Left-leaning states usually have more population. Funny, that.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        What do you mean?

      • Stu

        Not so much, anymore. Read up on the census.

      • Joseph Goins

        Make sure you pass that good stuff to the left.

      • FulMetlJakit

        Perhaps because in a leftist state a large portion of them do not have to work to provide for themselves or their children? Or are “estimated” i.e. illegals?
        You provided no data or sources.

      • gunsandrockets
    • I dont know

      That used be very gun friendly area up until around the sixties then things went to hell

      Most of the gun comp. have been in that area for a long time, making hard to change

      The pool of skilled labor is better in that area also, training cost a lot of money, and in the south the pool of skilled labor is smaller

      All the north east area was gun friendly till sixties except for a some islands of
      stupid out there, like NYC, the country area still are gun people in New York the city bullshit control too much of the state

    • younggun21

      I am not aware of many that are starting to build businesses there, most of them have been there so long that when they were established there wasn’t a substantial difference in the gun laws. Now it costs a lot of money to move, build a factory, train workers in the area, get managers that live in the new state, etc. So it would be a huge cost burden for many manufacturers to move out wholesale, but more and more are trying to do so as it becomes politically unpalatable to be under a state government that hates your business and product.

      • Anonymoose

        If anything, gun laws in NH have gotten better. They have Constitutional Carry now there, don’t they?

    • Anonymoose

      But at least New Hampshire is pro-gun. Most of the State of New York, Joisey, and Cali used to be pretty outdoorsy, the Revolution started in Massachusetts, and Maryland used to be called the “Free State.” Times have changed.

    • Kafir1911

      I agree totally.

  • 375Holland&Holland

    New England by and large is an expensive place to do business .

  • John

    Two things, first, as a customer, I don’t care about your internal costs, that’s for your accountants to figure out. What I DO care about is that you are one of the most expensive guns in your class so I expect the highest quality material and the greatest quality control. Sig Sauer has not been exemplary in these categories as of late. If you want to save money and give me a cheaper gun at half the cost, fine, but don’t save money, give me a cheap gun and still charge me a thousand bucks! Second, no one chooses to live in Arkansas, they are born there and they leave as soon as the can…..JK.

    • tb556

      I haven’t had any issues with any of my US Sigs, 08′ German Frame, 09′ and 13′ production dates but that’s 3 out of hundreds of thousands. My biggest gripe is how quickly they change production to new products. I’ve got a gun that’s less than 10 years old that they don’t make parts for anymore. I have a spare parts set but if I run through that I have scour the internet or buy it from Germany or Switzerland.

      • Sgt. Stedenko

        ’13 M400
        ’14 Spartan 1911
        ’15 522
        Not. one. issue. Again 3 of hundreds of thousands.

        • John

          Do NOT get me wrong, I love Sigs. I love everything about them except maybe the price. But I had issues with 2 of the 5 I’ve owned and while Sig CS got it fixed in the end, the effort it took to resolve the problems was very unsettling. Hence my post.

  • Patriot Gunner

    If you divorce your wife in Arkansas she is still your sister.

    • Sgt. Stedenko

      How’s a twister like an Arkansas divorce?
      Someone’s losing a trailer.

  • Patriot Gunner

    They should have moved to Wyoming like Magpul.

  • Matt

    If you build it, they will come

  • Hardwood83

    Sig is in business to make money- not shocked this decision reflects that.
    Why are electric costs +50% lower in Arkansas?

  • Nonny

    If you really are in AZ (listed as #1), then you have a real problem with one of your state Senators who is allegedly a Republican but against guns!

  • Richard Allen

    I wish they would move their academy to AR or really any place where you could get there without passing through NY or Canada.

  • Joseph Smith

    Power costs, sure. Not the sweeping New England tyranny that surrounds them and constantly threatens their ability to operate with a mere stroke of a pen by The Betters.

  • Ryanwashere

    The entirety of New England region is rejecting pipeline use and opting to push for more renewable energy, but in this dead zone, congress representatives are rejecting the push for renewable energy and pushes for gas, which in turn is being rejected by the people. So New England is now in a dead lock of rising costs

  • Kafir1911

    I have read many of the comments below and most are valid. Some good points made there. The one thing is did not get to was the Anti-Gun North East. I hate buying a gun or ammo from an anti-gun state such as Connecticut or Mass. I know there is a cost factor to moving but manufacturing in a state that hates guns seems a bit wrong somehow.

  • Steven Kaspar

    They should improve the weapons they make first, their sig 556xi russain was a big peace of junk and wouldn’t shoot 5 rounds in a row with out jamming!