Super-size win: Transport Designs uses AutoCad to build motor home for BIGGest man in the NFL
This year’s National Federation of Businesses/Dell Small Business in Excellence Award winner is Transport Designs—chosen from more than 1,000 small businesses, and awarded $25,000 in Dell products and services. Transport Designs, a niche trailer designer, developed a motor home that’s now endorsed by Dallas Cowboy football player Leonard Davis.
When Leonard “Bigg” Davis , offensive guard for the Dallas Cowboys , decided to look for a motor home to fit his 6’6”, 354-lb. body, he looked no further than Transport Designs of Montoursville, Pa. Transport Designs has the reputation for building uniquely personalized motor homes and trailers to supply niche markets whether for the federal government, industrial/commercial, or personal use.
Leonard Davis liked his new motor home so much that he’s now endorsing the product.
“The hardest to accomplish for customers like Mr. Davis is a trust between the customer and the manufacturer”, says Steve Mattie, president of Transport Designs. “With so much garbage and scamming on the Internet, customers have become wary—and rightly so.”
Transport Designs uses its Web site as the only source of advertising to attract new customers. Once there, they can view the various products and options, and then quickly contact the sales department.
“We then send PDF forms within 24 hours rather than impersonal auto-responses,” says Mattie. “Once we ascertain the customer’s needs, using AutoCAD design software, we spend the first dollar before the customer commits to a purchase by developing simple floor plans to get the customer and the factory on the same page.”
Transport Designs also uses AutoCAD to deliver digital floor plans and converts them to PDFs or DWFs, Mattie explains. “PDFs are great for quickly reviewing a drawing,” he says, “but the more detailed DWF allows the customer to interact with the drawing, permitting them to take measurements and make notes that can then be digitally transmitted back to the design team.”
The ability to quickly turn around design concept for a potential customer is one key to gaining customer confidence.
“When we designed the motor home for Mr. Davis, we had to keep in mind his NFL lineman-size frame,” Mattie points out. “While this may not seem like much, passageways had to be widened by an additional 12 inches, which robs wall space for refrigeration and ductwork. AutoCAD allows us to quickly make these changes and get them to the customer for approval.”
Because of the innovative use of technology, Transport Designs has won the Dell/NFIB (National Federation of Businesses) Small Business Excellence Award for 2008, and will now enter the international competition with 12 other countries.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.