Crown begins voluntary layoffs

By Mackenzi Klemann -

NEW BREMEN — A slowdown is underway at Crown Equipment, which is now offering voluntary layoffs at its New Bremen-area facilities as the company scales back production of lift trucks in response to lower-than-anticipated sales.

Employees were notified of voluntary layoffs on Tuesday.

“New (lift) truck orders have been down,” said Randy Niekamp, vice president of human resources over Crown’s U.S. market. “We’ve been bringing schedules down gradually and allowing attrition to take its course. Schedules have been reduced further.

“Hopefully we get enough takers that we don’t have to do an involuntary layoff.”

The slowdown started in 2019.

In a December employee bulletin shared with The Lima News, (a sister paper of the Sidney Daily News) the company notified New Bremen-area staff that lift truck “order intake levels have been below our production levels for several months now.”

Employees were offered additional vacation and unpaid time off as the company evaluated staffing levels.

Niekamp told The Lima News that voluntary layoffs will be offered through the end of the month, after which the company will consider whether involuntary layoffs are needed. He did not disclose how many positions need to be eliminated, calling the situation “fluid.”

The voluntary layoffs affect the entire New Bremen market, including facilities in Fort Loramie, Greenville, New Knoxville, Minster and Celina.

Crown Equipment was in the middle of a major expansion at its New Knoxville and New Bremen facilities, which together were expected to create more than 560 jobs.

Construction in New Bremen is ongoing, while the new 57,000 square-foot addition in New Knoxville is complete. Niekamp said hiring is now on hold but will resume as demand for lift trucks increases.

With headquarters in New Bremen, Crown Equipment has an outsized presence in northwestern Ohio. The company employs about 5,000 workers across Ohio, with additional facilities around the U.S. and globe.

By Mackenzi Klemann

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.