Manufacturing Odds & Ends

QPS survey shows employers cutting costs; Poblocki will provide signs for Children’s Hospital expansion; Johnson Controls to raise cash by selling additional securities

QPS survey shows employers cutting costs

Employers throughout Wisconsin and Illinois continue to take action to cut their costs, according to the latest survey by QPS Companies, a Brookfield-based staffing and recruiting firm.

QPS surveyed more than 500 companies, including manufacturers, banks, printers, distributors and information technology firms throughout Wisconsin and Illinois as part of ongoing employment forecasting survey.

The companies were asked in February to report the measures they are taking to deal with the recession. Among the findings:

  • 53 percent reported laying off or releasing employees.
  • 49 percent are reducing or freezing wages.
  • 40 percent are decreasing hours or cutting their work week down.
  • 31 percent are reducing or eliminated bonuses.
  • 16 percent are reducing or eliminating 401K match.
  • 11 percent are reducing or eliminating benefits.

"Many companies are using the downturn as a catalyst for changing their operating procedures," said Mark Immekus, executive vice president and chief sales officer of QPS. "They are really taking a hard look at their costs, and are trying to figure out ways that spending can be eliminated to help keep them afloat during these tough times."

Poblocki will provide signs for Children’s Hospital expansion

Poblocki Sign Co. announced it has received a contract to provide the signage at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin‘s west tower expansion.

Poblocki will design-assist, fabricate and install interior and exterior signage. The package will include building and room identification signage, wayfinding signage and specialty signage for the donor walls. Poblocki is working in collaboration with Zimmerman Design Group, Milwaukee, and Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbot, the project’s designers. The project calls for an estimated 1,000 signs.

"We are honored that Children’s Hospital chose Poblocki as its signage partner for this project," said Paul Poblocki, vice president and general manager of Poblocki Sign Co. "Hospital environments are always challenging and our team is excited to help develop an effective wayfinding system from this beautiful, new facility."

The Wauwatosa, Wis.-based hospital is expanding to accommodate growth. The 12-story, 425,000-square-foot tower will have room for 236 to 294 patient beds, leaving space for an additional 72 beds in the future. The tower also will feature a larger pediatric intensive care unit and the expanded Herma Heart Center. The project is expected to be completed this spring.

Johnson Controls to raise cash by selling additional securities

Johnson Controls Inc. plans to sell more than $500 million in new securities to shore up its credit and general operations.

The Milwaukee-based company intends to use the net proceeds from the offerings for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of short-term indebtedness that the company has incurred to finance its working capital requirements.

J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. are serving as joint book-running managers for the offerings, and Barclays Capital Inc. is acting as a joint book-running manager for the convertible senior notes offering.

Johnson Controls recently announced a joint venture to produce the batteries for Ford Motor Co.’s new hybrid vehicles.

UWM receives latest Rockwell Catalyst Grants

The Research Foundation at UW-Milwaukee has received three new Catalyst Grants in advanced automation sponsored by Rockwell Automation Inc. totaling in $170,000. The grants are the second round in a five year program supported by Rockwell.

The grants will support research in:

* Software and informatics by Mukul Goyal, an assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, who is looking at methods to enhance reliability in wireless sensor networks.

* Sensors and devices by Arash Mafi, assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science, who is developing high sensitivity fiber optic surface plasmon resonance sensor.

* Materials by Pradeep Rohatgi, a Wisconsin Distinguished Professor and UWM Distinguished Professor, who is researching self-healing solders for the automation industry.


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