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Companies seek efficiencies in face of rising steel, aluminum tariffs


April 20, 2018  


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Over the past year, steel prices have continued to climb in the United States, and because of a recent proposal to increase tariffs on steel and aluminum, they appear poised to climb higher, to levels that have not been seen in more than a decade.

In response to the potential tariff hikes, several manufacturers in the United States are facing a challenging environment in which material costs are rising. Some of these manufacturers are using surcharges, fees and price increases to maintain their margins.

But one U.S. company isn’t doing that.

With 30 years of experience in the American automotive industry, Versalift CEO Curt Howell believes that the company must look inward.

“By continually improving processes and eliminating waste,” says Howell, “we see an opportunity to profitably support Versalift customers without raising its prices.

The tariffs imposed are:

• Products of iron or steel provided for in the tariff headings or subheadings enumerated in Note 16 to this subchapter, except products of Canada, of Mexico, of Australia, of Argentina, of South Korea, of Brazil, or of the member countries of the European Union or any exclusions that may be determined and announced by the Department of Commerce  – 25%

• Products of aluminum provided for in the tariff headings or subheadings enumerated in Note 19 to this subchapter, except products of Canada, of Mexico, of Australia, of Argentina, of South Korea, of Brazil, or of the member countries of the European Union or any exclusions that may be determined and announced by the Department of Commerce  – 10%

With a company culture that is built around transparency and accountability, Versalift is working toward four organizational goals:

• Perfect safety record;

• Increased manufacturing quality;

• On-time order delivery; and

• Decreased production cost.

Howell says that Versalift continues to work toward greater organizational efficiencies, and to pass the savings on to its customers. 

As the import and export of steel is crucial to it’s business model, Versalift is monitoring the current tariff situation, and is also paying attention to existing trade agreements that may impact the company and its customers. Because utility vehicle acquisition costs are instrumental to the profitability and sustainability of Versalift customers, the company is not ready to commit to charging higher prices for its products.

With that said, if at a future date market conditions demand price increases, Versalift sales managers and other company representatives will notify their customers in short order.

As a U.S.-based global manufacturer of utility equipment, Versalift supports fair trade practices, and therefore sees the imposition of any new tariffs as a challenge to the global market, says Howell.

(Versalift)