Cirrus Goes Back To Work, Suppliers Too

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Cirrus Design Corp. begins production Monday after a month-long winter hibernation prompted by slow sales. The company's awakening means 500 furloughed employees will gradually be recalled and that means suppliers will soon be stirring in their dens as well. The ramp-up is not expected to be light-switch quick, but rather will take some time. Cirrus is capable of producing 16 aircraft per week, but the company has its sights set at half of that to reflect current market conditions. Cirrus suppliers were hit hard by the company's work stoppage, but some have used the downturn to diversify. Cirrus plans to recall each of 165 workers to its Grand Forks facility, and about 265 of 335 to its Duluth facility by the end of the week. The company provided insurance benefits for its workers throughout its month-long shutdown and "offered supplemental pay to complement unemployment," according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Moving forward, the company plans to remain nimble in adjusting its workforce capacity, making changes as demand requires. Cirrus suppliers will lag behind, slightly. One Cirrus component manufacturer, Northstar Aerospace, will bring its workforce back to 40 percent over the first months of the year. Another, SCS Aircraft Interiors, recently invested more than $2.5 million to install a facility in Duluth and relies on Cirrus for 75 percent of its business. Cirrus' return to production is essential to SCS' viability.