S-A cuts workforce by 30%

Third shift at digital set-top box plant in Juarez, Mexico, eliminated as demand slides

Responding to cable operators' slowing demand for digital set-top boxes, Scientific-Atlanta laid off 1,300 of the employees at its Juarez, Mexico, plant, or 30% of the workforce there. The reduction took the form of elimination of the plant's third shift.

All the company's Explorer digital set-top boxes are made at the facility, including the 3100HD and the new Explorer 8000 home entertainment server. A large portion of the company's transmission equipment is also manufactured there.

Last October, the company's Atlanta-based manufacturing operation was consolidated into the Juarez plant. That move was completed in June.

At its peak, the plant produced well over 1 million set-tops per quarter, but those production levels are driven by the demand from cable operators. In recent months, that demand has eased. "We can meet our current demand without that shift," says spokesman Paul Sims.

Demand is off 36% from a year ago. In the quarter ended March 2001, the company shipped 1.4 million digital set-top boxes. This March, the number was down to 879,000. The previous two quarters held at about 860,000 shipments each.