Wisconsin Manufacturing News

With layoff news from Falk, Brady Corp. and Viasystems, and Oshkosh’s new plant in China

Rexnord lays off 60 workers
Rexnord Industries LLC, the Milwaukee-based parent corporation of Falk Corp, laid off about 60 employees last week.

About 40 of the employees who were laid off worked at Falk Corp.’s plant in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley, said Karen Schwenke, Rexnord’s vice president of corporate marketing for Rexnord.

"We find ourselves in the same economic slowdown as all businesses do now," Schwenke said. "This was based on end-market demand (for our products)."

The remaining layoffs within the Rexnord organization were made outside of metropolitan Milwaukee, Schwenke said.

The company is not planning additional layoffs at this point, she said.

Outplacement services, severance pay and benefits continuation were offered to the affected workers. Some of them may be called back eventually, Schwenke said.

"We will look to staff back up when we need to, but I can’t speculate on when they might be called back," she said.

Brady Corp. to cut 10 percent of its workforce
Brady Corp. announced last week that it will undergo a "proactive" restructuring as the economy continues to slide, and the company will cut 10 percent of its worldwide workforce of 8,000 people.

The Milwaukee-based manufacturer of labels and signs also announced it will implement a company-wide salary freeze and will reduce discretionary spending.

"Our proactive measures to control costs helped to mitigate the effects of a deteriorating economy, and combined with other factors including a lower effective tax rate, resulted in slight net income growth in the first quarter," said Frank Jaehnert, Brady’s president and chief executive officer. "This was despite a decline in organic sales caused by a marked slowdown in our markets in the later part of the quarter. We expect a continuation of the challenging global economy and are taking additional steps to reduce our costs. These steps include a global workforce reduction of approximately 10 percent to be implemented in the second quarter, a company-wide salary freeze, the continued reduction of discretionary spending and contingency plans for further reductions in the event of more severe business contraction,"

Brady spokeswoman Carole Herbstreit told BizTimes Milwaukee that the company has not yet decided how many jobs will be cut from its Milwaukee operations.

Brady reported fiscal first quarter net income of $37.1 million, or 69 cents per share, which was up from $36.4 million, or 66 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

However, "The last half of October was very soft," Jaehnert said in a conference call with analysts.

Viasystems to close Oak Creek plant
St. Louis, Mo.-based Viasystems Group Inc. plans to close its Oak Creek plant, putting 238 people out of work.

The company has notified the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development about the plans to close the manufacturing and distribution facility at 10001 S. Howell Ave.

The layoffs will be done in phases from Jan. 19 to May 31.

Viasystems manufactures electronic systems and subsystems, such as printed circuit boards and back-panel assemblies.

Oshkosh to build new plant in China
Oshkosh Corp. broke ground last week on a new manufacturing plant in Tianjin, China.

The new facility will produce JLG access equipment specifically for the Asian market. The announcement is another step in Oshkosh Corp.’s strategic business initiatives to meet the demands of a global economy and the growth potential of the Asian markets.

Oshkosh currently manufactures in 11 countries and has additional service operations in 16 countries.

"The facility we are building in Tianjin is a strategic initiative to directly service regional customers with a faster delivery turnaround for our JLG brand of aerial work platforms," said Robert Bohn, chairman and chief executive officer of Oshkosh Corp.

"This locally-produced product will give Oshkosh a distinct strategic advantage in a very aggressive, competitive Asian landscape. JLG products made at the Tianjin facility will be targeted for the China and Asian markets and be a complement to other JLG manufacturing facilities which build product for the rest of the world."


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