Konecranes in Springfield is having a job fair January 10 2018 at Ohio Means Jobs-Clark County’s office on Lagonda Ave.

‘We’re anti-gravity people’: What a large Springfield employer is doing to plan for its future

A large Springfield employer is increasingly focusing on collecting and analyzing data to improve its products and becoming more flexible in its recruitment policies, company executives said Monday.

Bernie D’Ambrosi, senior vice president and head of Region Americas for Konecranes, told members of Springfield’s Rotary Club that Springfield’s workforce has been key to the company’s success for several years. The company plans to focus more on training to develop qualified technicians as companies increasingly compete for workers, he said.

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The company is also collecting more data from both its equipment and inspection reports and using the data to improve its products and services, he said.

Konecranes is a large Springfield employer with about 450 workers locally.

Springfield is the company’s regional headquarters, and much of the training the company provides to its employees is offered here. The company manufactures and services overhead cranes and other products that are used in shipyards, ports and the automotive and steel industries, among others.

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“Long story short, we’re anti-gravity people,” D’Ambrosi said.

He credited the company’s local workforce with much the the company’s success, arguing that getting workers to cooperate toward shared goals is more important than the firm’s policies and business plans.

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“Frankly, we have used Springfield as a competitive advantage for quite some time,” D’Ambrosi said.

Like many companies, Konecranes has been challenged in finding and retaining skilled workers, he said. In response, Konecranes is increasingly working to identify workers with general technical skills, and devoting more resources to training to provide the specific skills needed. He described the labor market as the company’s primary challenge.

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“We need to take good, quality people who want to learn and develop crane technicians that we think have potential,” he said.

The goal is for Konecrane’s training program to be the gold standard across the industry, D’Ambrosi said.

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The company also plans to use data analytics from its equipment and from inspection reports provided by technicians to catch and prevent problems with the company’s products in advance, he said. He said the company seriously began collecting more data a little more than two years ago and uses predictive analytics to improve Konecranes’ products.

Last year, the company’s global headquarters in Finland finalized the acquisition of the material handling and port solutions business from the Terex Corporation under the Demag brand. D’Ambrosi said Konecranes’ board of directors provided three years to integrate the companies but instead the North America operations were integrated within six months.

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