WEB EXCLUSIVE: Crown Equipment VP discusses operational success

As part of Plant Engineering's Mid-Year Report, "Bullish on Manufacturing", Dave Besser, senior vice president at Crown Equipment Corp. talks exclusively online about how the company's integrated manufacturing approach has helped streamline operations.

08/17/2012


Photo courtesy: Crown Equipment Corp.Crown Equipment Corp.’s integrated manufacturing approach has helped it streamline its operation. The company works at both lean manufacturing and sustainability. In an exclusive interview with PlantEngineering.com, Dave Besser, senior vice president at Crown Equipment, talks about executing on all of those initiatives.

PE: What are the biggest challenges right now in expanding and improving your manufacturing operations?

Besser: There are currently two big challenges we are facing in regard to expanding and improving our manufacturing operations:

1. Identifying and hiring qualified, properly trained employees

There is a real need for technical machining, welding, and assembly employees. In many cases, we are finding that the hiring pool is not quite qualified to the level we need, which is requiring us to depend more on internal training programs to qualify new hires.

One factor that is helping us meet the challenge is the close relationships Crown Equipment maintains with local schools and educational organizations. One example of this commitment is the recent virtual welding challenge we held for six area high schools. The challenge was conducted on the virtual welding training machine we use to train our employees. Teams were assessed on the accuracy and speed of their performance, as well as the angle closeness and overall quality of their welds. This sort of engagement is an important way for students to see how the skills they are learning in the classroom are applicable in manufacturing settings.

2. Lead times associated with purchasing equipment

To support rapid growth in business, major machining / robotic system capital purchases are extending to greater than 6 months in many cases. Implementation of technically complex equipment which runs a wide variety of components typically takes additional time for full ramp-up capability.

PE: What are the advantages of standardizing and integrating manufacturing processes? Where are the pressure points?

Besser: Crown Equipment designs and manufactures 85% of its lift truck components, including key parts like motors, drive units, and electronic modules. The company is integrated across 16 multi-location manufacturing facilities.

Crown’s integrated manufacturing brings together every aspect of the company’s production process toward the common goal of creating superior material handling products. Putting all aspects of production under the Crown umbrella allows us to develop and continually improve upon standardized manufacturing practices at all of our global facilities. Crown’s integration allows the company the flexibility and creative freedom to be innovative and offer customized solutions in a compressed timeframe, without any negative impact on quality.

Our integrated manufacturing philosophy is something that gives us a competitive advantage. We have an ability to manage quality that most people struggle with, having to deal with a different company, a different culture, a different quality system.

Pressure points impacting manufacturing primary focus on continuing the tradition of Crown’s integrated manufacturing model as the best manufacturing value in the industry. By continuously challenging our wide variety of manufacturing processes to compete on a global basis in terms of cost, quality and delivery, focused attention is given to process innovation, technology, lean methodologies, and employee development.

PE: Talk about your hiring and training efforts. How are you able to recruit and train the workforce you need to continue your growth?

Besser: Hiring through all Crown manufacturing operations uses a consistent process of job opening communications, interviewing, and selection. Crown is typically the employer of choice in the communities where Crown manufacturing facilities are located. Crown’s culture, competitive wages and benefits, career opportunities, and product are major reasons for potential employees to pursue employment.

Training throughout all of our manufacturing processes requires that job “competencies” are achieved in all positions. This training is provided internally and includes all aspects of the operations those employees experience to be successful. These job competencies include specific aspects of assembly, machining, welding, quality, safety, and material handling.

Additionally, Crown Equipment has an established training program for employees. The company’s Demonstrated Performance training program allows participants to develop their skills by following customized lessons and receiving personalized feedback from instructors, and each participant is able to work at his or her own pace to demonstrate ability to perform the skill.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.