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Briggs & Stratton shifts production to cut costs

BY HBSDealer Staff

As of the 2016 lawn & garden season, Briggs & Stratton is trimming down on its production to help cut costs, which will include limiting its Snapper consumer lawn and garden equipment and consolidating its products manufacturing facilities.

The company will also close its McDonough, Georgia location and consolidate production into existing facilities in Wisconsin and New York. 

The production of pressure washers, snow throwers and lawn tractors will move to the Wauwatosa, Wisconsin manufacturing facility, and production of zero-turn lawnmowers will move to its facility in Munnsville, New York. About 220 new full-time positions and 150 seasonal jobs will be added at the Wauwatosa location; numbers will remain relatively unchanged in Munnsville.

Briggs & Stratton will continue its dealer product offerings under the Snapper Pro, Simplicity and Ferris brands. Sales of Snapper and Murray products at Walmart will also continue as usual.

"While we have seen improved sales of our lawn and garden equipment during our fiscal 2014, in an effort to improve the operating performance of our Products business, we believe it is necessary to simplify our Snapper product line, reduce our offerings of certain low volume and lower-priced Snapper lawn and garden products and reduce the related manufacturing capacity and expenses," said Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corporation. "We will continue executing our strategy to focus on those premium products that generate higher margins and returns for our shareholders."

The changes will ultimately affect about 475 employees. Briggs & Stratton will be lending a hand through assistance programs, continued benefits and outplacement services.

The total cost of the restructuring is estimated to total $30 million to $37 million; the annual cost savings are estimated to be about $15 million to $20 million.

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Thomas Hill named president, CEO at Vulcan Materials

BY HBSDealer Staff

The board of directors at Vulcan Materials Company has named Thomas Hill as its new president and CEO. He has also been elected as the company’s newest board member.

In his new role, Hill will take the place of Donald James, who will remain on board as executive chairman. Hill was most recently serving as EVP and COO.

"Having successfully navigated the worst downturn in our industry’s history, now is the right time to put in place our new leadership team, led by Tom, to guide the company and expand our market leadership in the industry," said James. "Tom has been a tremendous asset to our company over the years, particularly as we successfully enhanced Vulcan’s profitability and financial strength during the market downturn and positioned the company for strong performance during the recovery. Tom is a proven leader with vast operational and industry experience and superlative management skills. He is the right person at the right time to lead our company forward in its next phase of growth."

Hill has been with the company for over 24 years. Beyond his most recent role as EVP and COO, he also served as SVP of Vulcan’s South Region, president of former Florida Rock Division and president of the Southwest Division.

Vulcan also promoted EVP and CFO John McPherson to EVP, chief financial and strategy officer, in which role he will take on the added responsibility of the company’s human resources functions.

Additionally, Cynthia Hostetler has been elected to the board of directors, replacing Phillip Farmer, who is retiring from the board.

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Trex wins Stevie Award

BY HBSDealer Staff

Trex Company recently celebrated its receipt of the American Business Awards’ Marketing Campaign of the Year award — also known as the Stevie Award — in the Home Furnishings and Appliances category.

Trex’s "Engineered Artistry" campaign brought home the bacon for its pairings of well-known engineers and artists, who were filmed talking about high-minded concepts like form and function — all while standing on a Trex deck.

"Engineered Artistry is the artful combination of technology and beauty, form and function," said Adam Zambanini, VP marketing for Trex. "With this campaign, Trex asserted its category leadership — not only through product innovation — but also through marketing that provides true value to consumers and professionals via interactive, thought-provoking content."

The campaign included print and digital media, including a full website redesign with responsive design and a public relations initiative.

Engineered Artistry was one of 3,300 nominations across various industries and organizations.

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