Published in Manufacturing
Herman Miller cuts 300 jobs COURTESY PHOTO

Herman Miller cuts 300 jobs

BY Monday, May 18, 2020 02:16pm

ZEELAND — Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. is laying off about 300 employees throughout the company’s global workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions.

The job cuts, which took effect May 14, came via voluntary and “involuntary reduction,” the company said today in a filing with federal securities regulators. Herman Miller (Nasdaq: MLHR) said the move is expected to save the company $32 million in annual expenses.

The company warned more job cuts could be coming “depending on future levels of its business activities.” 

A representative from Herman Miller did not respond to a request for comment from MiBiz.

The workforce reduction is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Zeeland-based company to manage cash flow in the past three months of the coronavirus crisis.

For the third quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, Herman Miller recorded sales of $665.7 million, up 7.5 percent from the $619 million in the same period a year earlier, the company reported in March.

At the end of the quarter, the company had $111 million in cash on hand and withdrew $265 million on its revolving credit line to provide additional near-term liquidity.

Herman Miller declined to forecast sales for its present quarter because of the “high degree of uncertainty throughout the global economy” because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As we manage the business through this fluid situation, we’re focused on the factors we can control,” President and CEO Andi Owen said at the time. 

Herman Miller paid its Michigan workforce that was affected by the state-mandated closure of manufacturing facilities as part of the stay-home order that was issued in March, as MiBiz previously reported. The contract furniture manufacturer’s health care division continued operating throughout the shutdown and by the end March, executives at the company anticipated bringing back up to 30 percent of its manufacturing employees to help to fulfill the immediate need for medical and personal protective equipment.

By April, Herman Miller had started implementing a range of actions to temporarily reduce costs and preserve liquidity, including a 10-percent reduction in compensation for the majority of the company’s salaried employees.

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