HOW THE CONSOLIDATION
WILL AFFECT BUSINESS
“We believe this consolidation will have a positive impact on our Montgomery operations for years to come. This move exhibits Hager’s commitment to maintain a viable, domestic distribution presence in the Montgomery community.”
VICE PRESIDENT MONTGOMERY OPERATIONS, HAGER
Hager Companies consolidates operations
by David Zaslawsky
Hager Companies has been doing business in Montgomery for almost 30 years, and with the firm’s move to consolidate operations, the company plans to be here for a long time.
“We all know we are looking at very difficult economic times,” said Ken Maddox, vice president of Montgomery operations for Hager Companies. “The construction industry, which Hager is a part of, has certainly been adversely affected by the economy.
“Our strategic growth plan for Hager Companies – we are moving several product lines into our Montgomery operation. We will close our Oxford, Alabama, facility and we certainly mourn the loss of (that) facility.”
The consolidation will help solidify Montgomery’s operations. Hager employs about 275 in Montgomery – 225 in manufacturing and 50 in distribution.
The company makes door hinges and has been hit hard by the slowdown in both the commercial and residential construction sector. Maddox said the latest numbers he saw showed the construction industry was down 31 percent.
With the consolidation, Maddox said the company will not only cut costs, but move toward restoring a full 40-hour work week for the Montgomery staff as well as possibly bring some Oxford employees here. Another option for the St. Louis-based firm was moving operations outside the country.
But Maddox stressed it’s all about the economy. “Business is pretty flat and we’re not sure what the construction industry is going to do over the next couple of months. We are expecting (construction industry) to soften a little bit in the fourth quarter.”
Maddox said the company is moving several product lines from Oxford to its Montgomery facility.
“We believe this consolidation will have a positive impact on our Montgomery operations for years to come,” Maddox said. “This move exhibits Hager’s commitment to maintain a viable, domestic distribution presence in the Montgomery community and this will help make that commitment successful.”
Hager employees have been working four-day weeks for the most part. The company may run a full 40-hour week once a month.
“We think this gives us a chance to get back to 40 hours, but I’m not exactly sure when that will happen,” Maddox said. “That’s what we are trying to do. We also believe that as the transition moves forward and the marketplace improves, it will provide the opportunity to add jobs to our Montgomery operation. Market conditions will ultimately decide the pace of that growth.”
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who attended the Hager announcement at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, was hopeful that 40 workers will transfer from Oxford. He added that restoring a 40-hour work week is like creating another 60 jobs.
“This is another example of quality companies in Montgomery, Alabama, taking that leap of faith – taking that step as they see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not the train coming at them,” Strange said.
“We’ve been talking about our economic indicators in Montgomery being less worse than they were previously. This is the beginning of what I’m going to call ‘more better’ because we are ‘more better’ today than yesterday and we will be ‘more better’ tomorrow with these announcements and the others that we have coming.”
Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. said, “We pledge to do everything we possibly can as a County Commission to (help) your stay ... and that you will continue to grow here in Montgomery.”