STIHL executive cut costs but kept quality


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Print this page by Joan Tupponce

Karl Angler was part of a management effort at STIHL Inc. that steered the power tool manufacturer through the recession without laying off regular employees or cutting their benefits.
“It was difficult,” says Angler, the company’s vice president of finance. “We took a different viewpoint and considered it an investment in the future. Those measures helped us achieve record sales the year following while maintaining STIHL product quality. It was so much easier for us by having the existing work force to produce what the market demanded.”

Angler has played a major role in the accomplishments of STIHL. He is one of the driving forces behind its sales growth in the U.S. and around the world. “Since his arrival here in 2002, Karl has made significant and frequent contributions to the growth and management of our company,” says company President Fred Whyte.

One of Angler’s achievements, company officials say, has been his ability to focus on cost reductions without compromising quality. He also believes in attention to the needs of customers. “It’s more than just lip service,” he says. “It’s vital to lasting success.”

Angler played a key role in establishing the company’s relationship with John Deere, resulting in STIHL outdoor power equipment being selected as the “preferred brand” of John Deere’s qualified servicing dealers. His negotiating skills also were essential in the acquisition of Mississippi Valley STIHL Inc. and he was a driving force in standardizing costing procedures across all STIHL production companies to help determine the best manufacturing locations.

Many of the business decisions in which he is involved affect the company’s employees and families. For example, Angler is responsible for spearheading the company’s plans for onsite health clinics. As part of the management team, he also tries to create an environment that allows people to perform and excel. “I also believe in accountability and responsibility,” he says. “I don’t shy away from getting involved in the detail of a topic or issue.”

His belief in open communication led to the introduction of “all-team meetings,” which involve all employees twice a year, and an international exchange program of employees within the STIHL group that helps improve communications among company workers worldwide.

Away from work, Angler contributes his time to various organizations such as the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees and the Executive Advisory Council of the College of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University.

In May 2012 Angler will take the next step in his career, assuming a post on the executive board of STIHL’s parent company in Germany. “I wish him well,” says Whyte. “He will be missed.”

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