Shuttlelift reduces lead times

07 May 2008

Baring Bar increases productivity at Shuttlelift.

Baring Bar increases productivity at Shuttlelift.

When a company makes reductions in its capacity, it's generally not something they shout from the roof top. But this is exactly what Shuttlelift is doing with regard to its reductions - lead time reductions.

A combination of strategic planning and capital investment over a 12 month period has resulted in reductions of production lead times for the company's most popular models of rubber tired gantry cranes. Lead times are down from an average of 160 days to 90 days, according to the company.

Shuttlelift s strategic decision to sell its carry deck industrial crane product line in 2007 to Manitowoc freed up significant capacity for its flagship gantry crane product lines.

But the company said lead time reductions can also be attributed to a $4.5 million capital investment by Shuttlelift into its sister company and dedicated machining/fabrication facility, Exactech.

“The introduction of a high tech CNC Boring Bar meant a more efficient method of manufacturing high quality structural beams for larger gantry cranes that have lifting capacities of 150 tons or greater,” said Bob Roesler, vice president of operations.

“Increasing our shop-floor labor force to over 200 employees has the added benefit of being able to focus on the growing demand for our core product lines, while still maintaining the high standard of quality that Shuttlelift is known for.”

Shuttlelift management looked at other areas for improvement. The purchasing department focused on lean manufacturing principles, which led to shorter delivery times from its suppliers; assembly working practices were organized into dedicated work cells with additional floor space available, which improved the throughput of work in progress; and a 40% increase in the number of assembly personnel, according to the company.

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