ZEELAND, MI – Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. announced a series of actions intended to reduce the company’s annual fixed overhead and operating expenses by approximately $60 million. Related charges are expected to total approximately $10 million, beginning in the third quarter. This is due to a decline in orders during the current quarter and in anticipation of further global economic weakness through calendar 2009.

“Herman Miller is not immune to the current global economic slowdown,” said Brian Walker, CEO. “We’ve experienced a decline in orders over the past few months as the credit market turmoil and declining corporate and consumer demand has accelerated. In response, we are acting early and carefully, as we have done in the past, to structure our costs in line with current and anticipated business conditions. At the same time, we will protect our ability to continue to invest in our future. In all these actions we will remain true to our values as a company and community, treating those impacted with respect and care.”

The actions include workforce reductions among both salaried and manufacturing staff, including temporary labor, through a combination of enhanced voluntary separation agreements, job eliminations and manufacturing layoffs. The company expects to implement these steps through January 2009. While many of the positions impacted are in Michigan, they also include other domestic and international locations. WMMT Channel 3 reported Herman Miller will reduce its workforce by 400 to 650 employees.

In other news, WMMT also reported that office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. is considering cutting 300 jobs due to the instability of the markets and a potentially slow period next year.

For more information on Herman Miller’s announcement, click here.

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