Truck supplier moving production from plants


A worker operates a machine at an SAF-Holland plant. Courtesy SAF-Holland

A global supplier to the truck industry has announced plans to transition production from two lakeshore plants — a move that will impact hundreds of workers — as part of its North American restructuring.

SAF-HOLLAND, which is headquartered in Luxembourg, said this week it will reduce its plants in the U.S. from seven to five, as a result of a weak truck and trailer market in North America and expectations for further declines in 2017.

Production at the Muskegon and Holland locations will be transitioned to group locations in Cincinnati, Dumas, Arkansas and Wylie, Texas.

Meanwhile, the testing centers and administrative offices of the Muskegon and Holland locations will be centralized at the facility in Muskegon, and the headquarters and corporate functions of the Americas region will also be centralized in Muskegon.

“This will enable us to build a new state-of-the-art engineering and technology center at the Muskegon location,” the company said.

SAF-HOLLAND said the consolidation will impact about 230 employees who work at the Muskegon and Holland plants, which include production and salaried workers, but following the transition, Muskegon will be home to about 250 employees.

A spokesperson for the company said, “It is our particular interest to keep our highly skilled people in our current Muskegon facility.”

SAF-HOLLAND said all jobs will remain in the U.S., and impacted workers from Muskegon and Holland can apply for positions at the other plants, which will be hiring.

The transition is expected to be implemented in a maximum of 18 months.

SAF-HOLLAND will be looking for a buyer for the manufacturing buildings at both locations.

Production of individual product groups, which until now was dispersed over various group locations, will now be centralized at single locations.

SAF-HOLLAND said the remaining locations are closer geographically to the major truck and trailer customers, so that “lead-time responsiveness can be improved and customer requests for locations with shorter delivery times can be met.”

The Holland plant produces fifth wheels and truck suspensions and king pins and couplers, while the Muskegon plant produces fifth wheels and truck suspensions.

The company said the decision will “align the organizational structure” with changes in the market and “secure the long-term competitiveness” of the North American plant network.

The new structure will also be accompanied by an adjustment in the “excess production capacity” at the North American locations in order to “improve capacity utilization.”

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