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Published: Tuesday, 1/15/2002

Name change on way for local elevator service firm


A firm whose roots go back to a Toledo company that was once the nation's third-largest elevator manufacturer is changing names again.

The name of parent firm Schindler Elevator Corp., of Morristown, N.J., will soon go up at Millar Elevator Service Co. in suburban Springfield Township. Millar, which traces its origins to Toledo's former Haughton Elevator Co., is being folded into the parent company in a bid to improve customer service and efficiency, officials said.

“It's a strategic move to align us with where our customers are in the marketplace,” said Timothy Shea, a Toledo-based executive whose title will change from president of Millar to executive vice president for service operations at Schindler.

The Holland operation, at 1530 Timberwolf Dr., provides training and support for Millar's 2,000 service technicians across the nation. It has 110 employees, mostly engineers and white-collar workers. No major layoffs are planned either in Toledo or other cities, although a few local positions that overlap jobs at the parent firm could be eliminated, Mr. Shea said.

However, the move will save money through the combination of some offices in 30 to 50 cities where Schindler and Millar have separate service operations or warehouses, said Roland Hess, president of Schindler. The office closures won't lead to personnel cuts because the two firms have separate customer bases, he said.

Parent Schindler Group AG, of Switzerland, is reorganizing European operations in an effort to boost a 5 percent operating margin that is less than half that of rival United Technologies Corp.'s Otis Elevator.

Millar was formed by Schindler in 1989 in an effort to go after service and repair work on elevators and other products made by competitors. Employees of Schindler, the world's second-largest elevator manufacturer and largest maker of escalators, continued to handle service work on Schindler products. Millar has annual sales of $10 million to $20 million, according to the Standard & Poor's index of corporations.

Today, large clients such as Sears are looking for a single firm to service elevators around the country, regardless of the manufacturer. “They want one provider,” explained the company president.

Schindler bought Toledo's former Haughton Elevator in 1979 in a bid to crack the U.S. market. Haughton was founded in Toledo by Civil War Col. Nathaniel Haughton in 1865. In 1989, the firm - then known as Schindler-Haughton - closed its Toledo headquarters and a local manufacturing plant.

Bloomberg News Service contributed to this report.

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