Pandemic-fueled shift in buying habits leads to investment, expansion at this machine maker

Keurig coffee pods have become a staple of offices and busy homes everywhere thanks to how quick and easy they’ve made brewing a decent cup of coffee.

Behind the scenes, a Northern Kentucky company is a key link in the chain that results in Keurig packages winding up on the shelves of local grocery stores.

Workers at R. A. Jones & Co. design and assemble the machines that package the coffee pods – billions of them, packaged at very high speeds – so they can be shipped to the stores.

R.A. Jones machines also package soap, detergent, cereal, soda, lunch meat, facial tissues, wipes, beer, wine, and all sorts of consumer goods made by Procter & Gamble, General Mills, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and many others.

The pandemic-fueled shift in consumer habits has benefitted the company and it’s planning to invest $2 million in its Kenton County facility, an investment that will create 20 jobs, including mechanical and electrical engineers, machinists, fabricators, assemblers, and service technicians, among others.

The company is also planning to invest about a million dollars a year over the next five years to build its capacity at the Crescent Springs Pike facility.

Gary Feldmann, the company’s chief operating officer, says the pandemic changed the buying habits of consumers to focus more on the home, increasing the demand for the consumer product made by R.A. Jones’ customers. Those trends are going to continue, he says.

“Our customers believe that those trends are not going to step back,” Feldmann says. “They see the need to put in new equipment because they don’t think the demand is going away.”

“Our engineers, assemblers, machinists, fabricators, project managers and everyone in between have been working 60- to 80-hour workweeks just to keep up,” he says.

The company dates its founding to 1905 and is part of a tradition of machine-making in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. It got its start packaging soap for P&G and its machines still package soap products for the Cincinnati-based consumer goods giant.

The company is now a subsidiary of Coesia S.p.A., and the Kenton County facility, where about 400 people work, serves as the North American headquarters for the Bologna, Italy-based parent company.

To learn about jobs available at R.A. Jones, you can go to www.rajones.com/jobs.

 

Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.
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