Challenges of production increase
By Maria Hadlow25 January 2011
Alan Lofurno is the global general manager of aerial booms and joined Terex AWP in April 2008. At the time of AI's visit, Mr Lofurno said, "We are currently ramping up production but at its height it was ten time the current amount.
Mr Lofurno says that the limiting factors when ramping up production is ensuring there are enough trained people and the ability of suppliers to increase their output.
"We are gradually bringing people back on line," said Mr Lofurno, "we have invested in inspection [training and facilities] and also hold, Hotlabs training people as they come into the system."
Since the beginning of the year Terex AWP has reduced inventories and has worked on producing the right number of machines for the current market, "In just three to four weeks can make the changes we require to increase production," said Mr Lofurno. "We know which parts of the system take longer and need more lead time.
"In the last years have worked hard to get rid of inventory, but now we are in a position to create a limited amount of inventory for North Bend and Moses Lake, which provides us with a flexible buffer.
"We have made a conscious decision to be ready for opportunities and have had to create a balance between flexibility and customer response. But we remain very diligent about the levels of inventory."
Mr Lofurno has 16 years experience working in power tools at Black and Decker so believes that he understands the strong focus on listening to the voice of the customer and the end user.
AT Terex AWP he is responsible for all booms articulated, telescopic and trailer mounts it is his role to decide strategy and product development and be a connection to customers.
"We have many customers: the rental house, the end user and the operator so have to satisfy each of them," said Mr Lofurno. "Maybe the operator has less of a voice but if we do right be him we should win the day.
"We receive feedback through sales and we also reach out to the three types of customers."
In a current programme to collect information which will help in the development of new and existing products Terex AWP is visiting sites where machines are in operation in real applications to see how machines are really being used.
The company is also employing some specially developed telematics to see record what operators and end users are doing with the machines for example looking at cycle times and engine use by machine types.
"We are always speaking to prime rental companies as a matter of course," said Mr Lofurno, "The Tier 4 engine regulation is a good example we are currently touring North America and talking to customers -almost consulting."
In 2013 engine regulation will impact larger booms and Terex AWP is talking to customers to find out what are their most important concerns.
"Many customers have said that Genie is the first to come to them about Tier 4," said Mr Lofurno.
On the prospects for the boom market Mr Lofurno said that there are some bright spots Market in Asia Pacific and Latin America, but Europe and North America are still down.
"Larger machines are doing better because of the return on investment," said Mr Lofurno, "The 80ft plus machines are experiencing higher demand relatively speaking.
"In the last few months the market has also picked up in other areas," said Mr Lofurno, "prior to that demand for 60 ft booms has been very low - perhaps people are starting to replace older kit."
Mr Lofurno said that there were two important ways to address the market and Terex AWP wanted to cover both: innovative cost-out and high value machines. By "innovative cost-out" Mr Lofurno means machines which are a lower cost to buy but more importantly a lower cost to own in terms of maintenance and servicing. High value machines are those from which rental companies can make a good return because they are niche or unusual, such as bigger booms, "Innovations customers can charge for," he said.