Employee count fluctuates at R&M Manufacturing
MILTON It's been an up-and-down year at R&M Manufacturing.
The company, 124 Sunnyside Drive, Milton, increased its employee count from 31 to 52 in the months after it came under new ownership in July.
But in the last six or seven weeks, it has laid off 15 hourly and salaried employees, bringing the employee count to 37.
That's still a net gain, President Dave Underwood said.
Many customers have canceled or delayed machine orders because of the economy, he said.
"I'm not too overly concerned that we have any long-term issues," he said. "It's a tough go right now, and manufacturing's really, really taking a hit."
R&M was formed five years ago by former ThyssenKrupp employees and now is owned by Underwood, Gary Stetson and Mark Merk.
Under the new ownership, the company has added an assembly division to its machine division, Underwood said.
All of the layoffs have come from the machine side. The assembly line is booming, he said.
"For a company our size, it was a very good thing to diversify," he said.
The company has started a cross-training program to teach employees how to work in both divisions and work at various jobs within the divisions, he said.
R&M doubled its space recently with a 22,000-square-foot addition. It had been leasing space elsewhere, Underwood said.
He considers the layoffs temporary and hopes the workers can return within months, he said.
"I don't want to lose my machinist base here," he said. "Their skill set is not an easy thing to acquire down the road."
The company once dealt mostly with auto manufacturing but has diversified to include construction, mining and farm equipment, he said.
It's also targeting green technology such as wind and solar power, he said.