July 29, 2014

Quiet Logistics leads job growth in Devens

Courtesy of Quiet Logistics
Quiet Logistics packages and ships apparel from its Devens warehouses seven days a week. The company recently expanded into a second facility on Barnum Road, after opening its first distribution center on Saratoga Boulevard in 2011.

E-commerce shipping and logistics provider Quiet Logistics is leading job growth in Devens, according to a report by the UMass Donahue Institute, and the company's workforce is only expected to increase.

Quiet Logistics, which arrived in Devens in 2011, expanded its footprint when it leased 184,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution space on Barnum Road in November.

Brian Lemerise, vice president of third-party fulfillment at Quiet, said the company chose to grow beyond its existing 200,000-square-foot facility on Saratoga Boulevard because of high demand for fast delivery of apparel in the Northeast. Devens offers a prime location, Lemerise said, because it has good access to shipping by boat, freight and airplane. But the labor market is also strong.

Workforce expected to hit 850 by December

"That was important to us, since we knew we were going to grow the headcount very quickly," Lemerise said.

Upon arriving in Devens as a new company, Quiet had less than 100 employees. It has 650 today, and will grow to 850 by the end of the year.
The second location on Barnum Road, formerly occupied by Anheuser Busch, has ample room to expand beyond 2014, which Lemerise said is a likely possibility. Major e-commerce apparel clients, like Zara International and Bonobos, are increasingly relying on Quiet as its third-party partner to ship orders.
With help from Quiet, those companies can promise next-day delivery to customers living in New York at standard shipping rates. Quiet receives the merchandise via plane, train or ship, packages it in branded packaging, and ships it by ground via regional carriers. The company operates in Devens seven days a week.

Donahue report highlights payroll growth

The Donahue Institute said in its 2014 report that Quiet is the largest employer in Devens, and drove almost all employment growth in the transportation and warehousing sectors.
Other Donahue report highlights on the Devens economy included:
-A total of 3,002 employed by the private sector, up from 2,641 last year;
-An average salary of $74,473, compared with $69,210 last year, and the current Massachusetts average salary of $60,892
-Total employee wages of $300 million in 2012, compared with $220 million in 2010
Peter Lowitt, director of the Devens Enterprise Commission, the local business regulatory authority, underscored Quiet's contribution to Devens' growing workforce in an interview last week.
"They're doing extremely well," Lowitt said, adding that Quiet may even be interested in occupying additional space in Devens.
With 4,030 people employed by the private and public sectors, Devens has seen steady employment growth since the Donahue Institute issued its first report in 2012. Three years ago, there were 3,208 people employed in Devens. In 2013, that number increased to 3,634.

Saint-Gobain facility closure a hit

This workforce grew despite a small dip in the number of businesses in Devens, a former U.S. Army base with state-sponsored economic development incentives. The business roster, which includes public and private sector organizations, fell from 95 in 2012 to 87 in 2013, but is climbing back up at 91.
But there was a significant loss earlier this year, Lowitt said, when French multinational material firm Saint-Gobain ended manufacturing operations, a little more than a year after it launched production of wafers for LED lights in the former Evergreen Solar building. The news was unexpected, according to Lowitt.
A Saint-Gobain official confirmed production ended due to changes in the market, but a formal announcement was not made.


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