Larry Weyers, executive vice president of Americas for Manitowoc Cranes, has been leading all company operations for the Americas region since 2007.
As the guest speaker at Tuesday’s Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Green Grove Gardens in Greencastle, Weyers described Manitowoc’s crane and food-service industries.
In 2011, the turnover rate for welders (at Manitowoc Cranes) was at 60 percent, he said.
“A lot of them just didn’t want to do that work, period,” Weyers said.
He said the younger generation doesn’t want to “put on the helmet and do that job for eight hours.”
While the company has moved to some automation to offset the work-force shortages, Weyers said Manitowoc is still focused on its work force.
“Right now, we’re caught up (with skilled workers),” Weyers said. “But, we had to hire almost 700 people to get 450 last year.”
Since the company knows the attrition rate, it’s constantly hiring to offset work shortages, he said.
Manitowoc continues to be a global leader, not only in its crane division but in its food-service industry, he said.
Beginning with the Kolpak/McCall acquisition in 1995, Manitowoc Foodservice began assembling industry-leading brands to become the dominant source for food-service equipment needs on the “cold side,” according to the Manitowoc website. Its capabilities include refrigeration, ice making, cooking, food preparation and beverage-dispensing technologies, the website said.
Weyers said the company continues to grow and is hiring people every month, from painters to professionals.
“Obviously, I think every company went though the 2009 downturn, but fortunately for us, we came out of it much faster than we thought we would,” he said. “It’s based on the new products that we introduced and our global footprint.”
Last year, the company’s food-service division introduced 42 new products, he said.
Weyers said in total sales, the crane division is stronger, but food service is more profitable.