Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Materials handling education: The materials handling industry is growing again

As the need for workers increases, is good help hard to find?
By Staff
June 04, 2010

By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor

On the heels of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the materials handling industry is starting to experience growth.  In fact, John Nofsinger, CEO of the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA, http://www.mhia.org) recently said, “Going into 2010, I anticipate progressive, continued, gradual growth. I do not expect to see the industry ramping up significantly into double digit growth in 2010, but growth is growth and up is up.”

With this growth comes the need for companies to hire, restaff positions and recruit top talent, especially top engineering talent, which is the life blood of the materials handling industry.  But is top talent available today?  Based on recent hiring at Dematic, the answer is yes – at least in Michigan.  Dematic (http://www.dematic.com), a supplier of logistics systems for the factory, warehouse and distribution center, has hired 83 employees at its Grand Rapids, Michigan operation and throughout North America over the last eight months. It also has plans to hire more engineering staff to accommodate growth in new business.

“I can’t speak for everyone else in the market,” said Ken Ruehrdanz, industry manager for Dematic, “but from my exposure to the user side of our business, there’s a general trend toward improved business.  We see this trend continuing and have plans to hire 80 more employees to fill existing open positions across many disciplines.”

In addition, Ruehrdanz said, Dematic has increased its manufacturing production workforce from a low of 93 to 150 in the last six months, up 61%, with plans to top 200 employees in the next month, up 115% from the low.

Filling these positions has been a job in itself, but a successful one.  “We’ve had very strong candidates to select from,” said Ruehrdanz.  “There are great universities and technical colleges in the state of Michigan that provide a nice flow of good talent coming into our company and into the industry.”

Ruehrdanz also said the special cooperative work/study programs and internships offered by many area schools are a win-win for employers and employees alike.  “When an intern starts working full time they’re very productive on the first day of work because their experience has significantly reduced the learning curve.”

While Dematic wasn’t challenged to find qualified top talent to fill its available positions, is that experience unique to Michigan?

A number of Michigan schools have put emphasis on training because of the hard knocks the automotive industry has taken, said Mike Ogle, MHIA’s vice president of educational & technical services, recent events just made it worse.  “Even prior to the heavy downturn in 2008, Michigan was on tough times and pushing heavily to train people in whatever’s next,” Ogle said.  “But they’re not unique.  There are many educational programs at the high school, 2-year and 4-year level around the country changing to meet the needs of the materials handling industry and the changing economy.”

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Shippers and other ocean cargo carrier stakeholders should be cheering the announcement made today by The U.S. Coast Guard, as it formally notified the International Maritime Organization through a Declaration of Equivalency that the United States position on SOLAS is that there are multiple methods to submit the combined cargo and container weight (Verified Gross Mass or VGM).

The proposed $4.8 billion acquisition of TNT Express N.V. by FedEx took a major step closer to becoming official today, with the company and TNT announcing today that they have received unconditional approval of the offer from the Ministry of Commerce People’s Republic of China (MOCFCOM).

March shipments at 798,180 trailed February by 12 percent and were down 19 percent annually. For the entire first quarter, shipments were relatively flat annually, rising 0.27 percent to 2,587,988.

OCEMA says it has placed a priority on working with other stakeholders to find operational solutions that will help U.S. exporters, carriers, and marine terminals prepare for the implementation of the SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rule.

The first quarter is typically the slowest period of freight demand for LTL carriers. With a few notable exceptions, that was reflected in first quarter earnings reports of the major publicly held LTL carriers.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2016 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA