Briggs, Magnetek, Orion and Signicast execs say their operations are improving in 2010

Most Manufacturing Summit panelists say “cap and trade” policy would significantly harm operations

During the Manufacturing Summit, a component of the annual BizTech Conference & Expo held last week at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, executives from Briggs & Stratton, Magnetek Inc., Orion Energy Systems Inc. and Signicast said orders have significantly improved over the last six months at their companies.

The panel discussion included Todd Teske, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton, Todd McDonald, vice president of Signicast, Neal Verfuerth, CEO of Orion Energy, and Peter McCormick, CEO of Magnetek Inc.

The Great Recession forced all of the companies to lay off workers and focus on internal efficiencies to cut costs. All of the companies on the panel, including Orion, have become invested in energy efficiencies as part of their cost reductions. They have also increased their reliance on automation and lean manufacturing to eliminate waste from their operations and find new means to do more with less.

The proposed “cap and trade” legislation that Wisconsin elected officials debated in recent weeks and federal officials are reportedly still considering could have a dramatic effect on the state’s manufacturing environment. Companies like Briggs & Stratton and Signicast that use large amounts of natural gas and electricity could be negatively impacted, while firms like Orion, which provides energy reducing equipment could benefit.

To see the panel discuss the potential effects of cap and trade legislation on their businesses, click the video below.


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