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Harley Restructuring Credited For Savings

By April 29, 2013General Posts

Harley-Davidson Inc. has realized several hundred million dollars in cost savings since it implemented a massive restructuring less than four years ago, executives said Saturday at the annual shareholders meeting.

This year the company expects savings of about $305 million, from changes it initiated since 2009, and rising to annual ongoing savings of about $320 million beginning in 2014.

The changes, including a new manufacturing system at Harley's factory in York, Pa., are boosting the company's profits and making it more agile as it builds motorcycles closer to market demand.

They've also come at a price to the workforce, including hundreds of York employees who lost their jobs when Harley outsourced work such as metal plating and stampings.

"I would like nothing more than to have every single employee who lost their job come back to work. None of us get up in the morning with the intention of ruining anybody's life," said Chief Executive Officer Keith Wandell.

But the point of the restructuring has been to strengthen the company and make it more efficient. Also, Wandell said, the outsourced work has created jobs at other American companies.

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