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Winnebago Works Through Holidays to Fill Orders

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

An increased backlog of sales orders meant many employees skipped the
traditional extra holiday time off at Winnebago Industries Inc. While
most had their normally scheduled holidays of Christmas Eve, Christmas
Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, some were working New Year’s
Eve, company spokeswoman Sheila Davis told the Mason City, Iowa, Globe

Winnebago employees typically have an extra week or two of vacation over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, she said.

Working through that traditional plant shutdown will help ease the
impact of four holidays and a physical inventory day planned during the
second quarter of fiscal 2010, Winnebago Industries CEO and President
Bob Olson said during a Dec. 17 review of the first quarter results.

He said the company, which laid off about 900 workers at its Forest
City and Charles City plants and closed a Charles City plant in a
restructuring process begun in January 2008, has been using all three
Forest City production lines since October.

“We are now working overtime and have increased our hourly employee
base by approximately 350 since the end of the fiscal year on Aug. 29,”
he said.

Olson said a rapid production increase could be limited if suppliers can’t meet Winnebago’s need for raw materials.

“Our suppliers have been faced with the same reductions in demand
as we have seen throughout this past year,” he said. “We are concerned
about their ability to react quickly enough to increase their production
to meet our needs as soon as we would like.

“But these challenges are much better problems to have than the downside of challenges we faced throughout this recession.”

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