By Kirk Johannesen, The Republic

johannesen@therepublic.com

    Impact Forge has laid off 60 people this month because of decreased sales in the slumping automotive industry.

   The layoffs were made last week and include forging operators, inspectors and maintenance and utility workers, said Gary Starewicz, director of human resources. 

    About a dozen other employees have been laid off in the last four months, he said. 

    The Columbus plant, which makes vehicle and industrial parts for engines, transmissions and drivetrains, employs about 200. Customers include Ford and Toyota. 

    The layoffs were based mostly on seniority. Employees who lost their jobs were told they could be called back. 

    "If we get into a situation where we need to put more people on the (payrolls) we would hire them back," Starewicz said. "Unfortunately, the thing is right now we don't have a crystal ball to know when that will be. Everyone is cutting back these days." 

    Impact Forge is on a two-week shutdown and will resume production Jan. 5. 

    Impact Forge has tried to "weather the storm" with other measures, including periods of non-production, reducing hours of production, cutting overtime and limiting capital expenditures and discretionary spending, he said. 

    "When you do that too many times you kind of penalize everybody. Sometimes it's prudent to look weeks and months ahead at the sales forecast and do what is best for the majority of people," Starewicz said. 

    To offset the losses, the company is using its "rollback" process to fill key positions. Employees with seniority and experience are moving down from higher positions to fill some that open due to layoffs.

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