Despite a year-long struggle with financial losses, trailer maker Wabash National Corp. said it would increase wages for its full-time workers by 4.1% in 2003.
Lafayette, IN-based Wabash said the increase is the result of a four-month performance-based wage increase program during which employees were challenged to achieve pre-determined build rates in return for higher wages. Sr. VP & COO Richard Giromini said tying wage increases to pre-established production targets helped the company improve manufacturing efficiencies, quality, safety and on-time delivery.
The pay raises come at a difficult, though improving time for Wabash. The trailer manufacturer lost $8.3 million on net sales of $241.5 million in the third quarter, compared to losses of $61.4 million on net sales of $242 million in the same quarter in 2001. For the first nine months of 2002, the company lost $44.6 million on net sales of $613.7, compared to a loss of $97.2 million on net sales of $696.7 million over the same period in 2001.
The company is also investing $2 million in new assembly line technology -- to be installed in the first quarter of next year -- to produce its aluminum and DuraPlate trailers at the main Wabash manufacturing complex in Lafayette.