Above: SUV assembly at the BMW Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. Credit: Greer Development Corporation
Over the past decade South Carolina has seen major growth in its manufacturing sector and remains a top state to do business. The state has completely reinvented itself following the recession’s steep losses and boasts some of the best incentive programs in the nation, as well as a favorable regulatory environment, access to capital, and competitive labor costs. The past year the state has seen some major expansions and plant openings, including Seimens' expansion of its massive Spartanburg facility,
For those looking do business with South Carolina manufacturers, it helps to have a complete understanding of the state’s manufacturing climate. Today, we’re covering some of the key facts and trends in the state based on our survey of South Carolina’s manufacturers and providing a look at the top manufacturing companies operating in the Palmetto State .
South Carolina is currently home to 3,992 manufacturing companies employing 273,542 workers. According to IndustrySelect’s database of 460,000 U.S. industrial companies, there are 17,210 executive contacts among South Carolina’s manufacturing companies, including 2,012 presidents, 1,316 owners and partners; 1,162 vice-presidents and 1,361 sales, marketing and purchasing executives.
Looking to do business with South Carolina manufacturers? Access comprehensive profiles of 4,800+ South Carolina manufacturers and 16,000 executives with IndustrySelect. Try a free demo of IndustrySelect and reach new prospects in the industrial world! Want other states? We have them all!
Other facts to know about South Carolina manufacturers, based on IndustrySelect’s advanced criteria available to subscribers:
• 2% of South Carolina manufacturing companies are women owned
• 1% are minority owned
• 12% are publicly owned companies
• 14% import raw materials
• 26% distribute their products internationally
South Carolina’s industrial sector boasts strongholds in the transportation equipment sector, as well as industrial machinery and rubber/plastics.
South Carolina’s top industry by number of employees is the transportation equipment sector, currently accounting for 15% of the state's industrial employment. This is followed by industrial machinery with 13% of the state's industrial jobs and rubber/plastics with 11%. The fabricated metals sector is also powerful in the state with 8% of its industrial workforce jobs, followed by food processing with 7%.
Looking at MNI’s city data, Greenville is home to the most industrial jobs, with 23,503 workers. Greer ranks second with 14,944 industrial jobs, while North Charleston account for 13,690. Fourth-ranked Spartanburg accounts for 13,888 jobs, while Anderson is home to 10,050 jobs.
Next, we’ll take a look at the state’s top companies
|BMW Mfg. Co., LLC||11,000||Greer||SC|
|Boeing Commercial Airplanes||7,000||North Charleston||SC|
|GE Power Electronics, Inc.||3,400||Greenville||SC|
|Volvo Car US Operations, Inc.||3,290||Ridgeville||SC|
|ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC||2,800||Gray Court||SC|
|Kraft Heinz Foods Company||2,500||Newberry||SC|
|Robert Bosch, LLC, Automotive Group||2,200||North Charleston||SC|
|Husqvarna Outdoor Products, Inc.||2,000||Orangeburg||SC|
|Electrolux Major Appliances||1,950||Anderson||SC|
|Michelin North America, Inc.||1,900||Greenville||SC|
1. BMW Mfg. Co, LLC. (Greer, SC)
With 11,000 employees, BMW is the state’s largest industrial employer. The Greer BMW location is a major assembly plant and produces more volume that any other BMW plant in the world, specializing in the X5, X3 and X6 sports utility vehicles.
2. Boeing Commercial Airplanes (North Charleston)
Boeing, the state’s second-largest industrial company employs 7,000 at the North Charleston assembly plant. This facilities produces a wide range of aircraft and related equipment, including commercial jetliner & defense, space & security systems for military, civil and commercial use. These include fighters, bombers, transports, rotocraft, and defense and launch systems.
3. GE Power Electronics, Inc. (Greenville)
GE’s location in Greenville employs 3,400, making it the state’s third-largest industrial employers. This facility produces gas turbines for energy applications and infrastructure products.
4. Volvo Car U.S. Operations, Inc.(Ridgeville)
In 2016, Volvo announced it would be establishing its first U.S. plant in Ridgeville. Now, employing 3,290 workers, it ranks as the state’s fourth largest manufacturer by number of employees. A major win for the state, this site produces sports utility vehicles, specifically the Volvo S60.
5. ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC (Gray Court)
All major automakers need major suppliers and ZF Transmissions fits the bill, employing 2,800 South Carolina workers in Gray Court to produce automotive transmissions, components and assemblies. ZF Transmissions is a major supplier to the Greer BMW plant.
6. Kraft Heinz Food Company (Newberry)
South Carolina’s manufacturing sector isn’t all about the auto sector. Heinz, a major food products company also has a strong presence in the state, employing 2,500 workers at its Newberry facility, where it specializes in turkey processing and packaging under its famous Oscar Mayer brand.
7. Robert Bosch, LLC Automotive Group (North Charleston)
Another major auto supplier, Robert Bosch employs 2,200 workers in North Charleston, where it produces auto parts such as anti-lock brake & diesel common rail fuel injection systems and gasoline fuel injectors. Robert Bosch is among the nation’s top auto parts manufacturers.
8. Husqvarna Outdoor Products, Inc.(Orangeburg)
Located in the city of Orangeburg, Husqvarna Outdoor Products, Inc. produces a wide range of gardening and outdoor power tools, including riding lawnmowers. That facility ranks eighth in the state with 2,000 employees
9. Electrolux Major Appliances (Anderson)
Electrolux is a top U.S. manufacturer of home appliances. The company’s Anderson location focuses on refrigeration manufacturing, employing 1,950. In 2017, Electrolux announced a major expansion of its Anderson manufacturing facility, adding on 800,000 square feet.
10. Michelin North America, Inc.(Greenville)
Located in the city of Greenville, this is the largest Michelin facility among the state’s six Michelin facilities. This manufacturing site employs 1,900 and focuses on producing rubber tires for passenger vehicles, trucks, agricultural earthmoving, as well as 2-wheel tires for bikes and motorcycles.
For those looking to do business with manufacturers, IndustrySelect’s database of 400,000 U.S. manufacturers is a top resource for both developing and researching sales leads in the manufacturing sector.
An IndustrySelect subscription can put you on a first-name basis with South Carolina’s 5,200 industrial companies and 17,000 executives. Subscribers can select up to 30 data points on any manufacturing company in the U.S. to help identify or pre-qualify leads. Company profiles also include the contact information for hard-to-find executive decision-makers. Try a free demo today!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in November 2020. It is updated annually to reflect new statistics and trends.