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USA - Great Lakes Castings stable

Ludington, MI - Great Lakes Castings employment is stable at about 220 people, said Tim Fischer, director of operating companies for Republic Financial, now the foundry’s parent company.

Fischer is in Ludington several days a month as he tracks and seeks to improve the foundry’s progress.

He praised the workforce here for its two-week turn-around time, the envy of the industry.

“It is hard to believe,” he said.

Other foundries offer six- or eight-week — or longer — response to customer orders.

GLC has had its fast response in place for about 10 years, he said, and it’s just the way business is done at the local plant.

It does make it difficult to forecast, he said, as the company never knows for sure what work it will have ahead of time.

To combat a hit from a downturn in one area of the economy, the foundry has diversified, moving from 80 percent of its work in the automotive industry to about 25 percent in that volatile market. Now it makes castings for the industrial and agricultural industries as well, from pumps to door-closer components.

Republic, of Aurora, Colo., bought the foundry from Brittany Corp. of Cleveland late in 2006.

Since then Republic has invested in capital, adding at least $800,000 in new equipment “to streamline and improve efficiencies,” Fischer said.

The company and Union Local 1464 worked out a four-year contract earlier this year, which means stability and “peace of mind,” he said. “It’s in everyone’s best interest.”

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