Polar Corporation announced initiatives to reduce production lead times and expand after-sale support for customers that transport fuel, chemicals, propane, food, and other products. These initiatives include:
Ted Fick, the company’s chief executive officer, outlined specific steps to reduce lead times, provide customers with more detailed information about specifications and cost calculations, and provide price quotes that are less susceptible to fluctuations in materials costs. These measures include:
•A second production shift at Polar’s Opole MN factory and a third production shift at its Holdingford MN and Springfield MO plants. All told, the company has hired 500 employees in the past nine months.
•New precision manufacturing tools. This includes a new tube bender, laser cutter, and plasma cutter at the Opole plant, and other state-of-the-art fabrication equipment.
•New software for 3D mechanical design and digital prototyping.
•Expanded manufacturing capabilities so each plant can produce a wider variety of trailer models and configurations.
Polar Service Centers’ commitment to sales and aftermarket support includes:
•More locations. The company increased the number of Polar Service Center locations from 20 to 29 in 2010 and plans to add 15 to 25 locations within the next 24 months. In April 2011, the company is opening Polar Service Centers in Louisville KY, Cincinnati OH, and Phoenix AZ.
•Access to rental trailers through Polar Service Centers, allowing customers to satisfy immediate operational needs until their new trailers are delivered.
•New electronic vehicle configuration resources that improve quoting accuracy, reduce order processing times, and help customers compare the cost, weight, and other characteristics of Polar products.
•Electronic inventory tools that allow customers to see Polar equipment that’s available to lease, rent, or buy.
•A significant investment in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to streamline the flow of information about costs, quality, product specification, and delivery among Polar, Polar Service Centers, customers, and suppliers.
Polar’s acquisition of JARCO, a manufacturer of propane delivery trucks and truck-mounted tanks for refined-fuel, allows the company to upfit propane bobtails through the Polar Service Center network. Polar can offer a consistently built truck-mounted tank product nationwide.
In addition to capital investments, Polar secured new labor agreements with its manufacturing employees.