YKK AP Feel Effects of Slow Construction in Georgia; YKK AP Stays
Focused on Productivity
March 10, 2009
The state of Georgia's unemployment rate is the highest it's ever
been since 1976 when the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor
Statistics began standardizing unemployment rates among all states.
And now, a recently announced plant shut-down and employee layoffs
at two different aluminum window companies in Georgia will soon
leave even more of the state's workers searching for jobs.
TRACO in Bainbridge, Ga., will shut down its plant there indefinitely
and YKK AP in Dublin has implemented a staff reduction. For both
companies, these actions are a result of the slow construction market.
For TRACO, the plant's 70 employees were given a 60-day warning
notice yesterday that the plant would be closing. The shutdown is
said to be indefinite and some employees will be kept on staff for
facility maintenance. According to news reports, TRACO officials
say if the economy turns around they'll re-evaluate the closing.
HERE for related article.)
At press time officials from TRACO had not responded to USGNN.com's
requests for comment.
In Dublin, YKK AP recently reduced its staff by fewer than 20 full-time
employees. The Dublin location has about 440 employees and is one
of the county's largest employers, and for Oliver Stepe, senior
vice president, YKK AP America, just because business is slow, doesn't
mean this is still not a good time to be productive.
"We are very well positioned to remain strong during this
current economic crisis. Our recent operational adjustments are
not a sign that we are shrinking back, but rather a sign that in
combination with continuous and expanded product development efforts,
we will be the most proactive manufacturer to enhance our value
to the market and, most importantly, increase our customers' ability
to gain new business opportunities as well," Stepe told USGNN.com.
"Our efforts in the past two years in product development,
expansion and a new supply chain management system are now really
paying off (editor's note: be sure and check out an upcoming
issue of USGlass magazine to read more about YKK AP's newest
products). For example, the past few months we have seen our
on-time delivery index at its highest point in our history. We also
just launched a brand new, innovative transportation system in a
test region that we hope to expand throughout the year."
Likewise, Stepe says during these tough economic times while it's
important for companies to remain competitive, they should not necessarily
focus too much on price as a business strategy.
"Now is not the time to slash prices and fall victim to those
who may try to take advantage of the current economic crisis. If
companies are faced with lower volumes at lower prices, it will
be very difficult to manage their business," Stepe says. "Companies
must focus on their core values and be clear about the value they
bring to the market. Obtaining appropriate and fair pricing for
goods and services is critical to any economic recovery."
Stepe also adds that economic downturns have somewhat of a filtration
affect on the market, which is not all bad (CLICK
HERE to view a related interview with Stepe). "The strongest
and most savvy business owners and companies will come out of this
period stronger than they went in, and new entrepreneurs will be
born and create products and markets that are not yet visible to
the average person," he says. "In my opinion, this cycle
and the spirit of innovation that is inherent to those who call
America home is what makes the USA's economic system among the strongest
and most admired in the world."
He continues, "As part of an innovative company that started
in the USA less than 20 years ago, and part of a very strong and
diversified global enterprise that is 40,000-plus team members strong,
I am confident that we will continue to increase our value to our
customers throughout this challenging period."
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