23/02/2012 - 04:00 am

Snorkel Plans to Hire Up to 30 Percent More Employees in 2012

Snorkel, Elwood, Kan., is hiring workers again as it emerges from a prolonged downturn.

Previous recessions like in the early 2000s forced the company to close the doors to its factory in Elwood, Kansas, causing mass layoffs. This time, Snorkel downsized but survived—and with demand once more returning for aerial lifts, the company is recruiting this year.

David Smith, president of Snorkel in North America, said: “After talking to our key customers, our build plan for 2012 calls for a 20 to 30 percent growth in employment over the coming months. This will be a gradual process as we ramp up production in line with demand.” He said hiring will be across the board, from assembly line workers and supervisors to office-based functions like purchasing and finance.

Last week, the company announced it was raising an additional $19 million from investors, to help increase production capacity in line with surging demand for its products. Its order book has reportedly swelled by 170 percent in recent months.

“We have survived this prolonged recession because of the global nature of our business,” Smith said. “We have much better developed distribution channels, and some of these markets were untouched by the downturn—Scandinavia is a classic example.”

Equipment rental companies are now purchasing aerial lifts again, and Snorkel said it is seeing strong demand from Latin America, driven by its booming mining sector and massive public works projects. The Elwood factory produces lifts for North America and Latin America. It is also Snorkel’s global producer of big boom lifts, which are used extensively in construction projects. The global design engineering team, responsible for new product development, is also based in Elwood.

Snorkel used the downturn to cross-train and up-skill its Elwood assembly line workers and also to enhance existing products and launch new ones.

“The downturn asked some hard questions of Snorkel as a company, and I am proud that we answered them,” said David Smith. “It was a tough recession, but we have emerged a leaner, smarter company with a stronger product range. We’ll be a more sustainable business through the upswing.”

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