Great Dane Trailers announced that the $5 million it is allocating to retool its Brazil, IN plant will add specialty foam presses to build trailer wall and roof assemblies.
This will serve as part of a new “modular trailer design assembly,” which will result in lighter trailers and improved design integrity, while lowering manufacturing costs, the company said.
“Our customers will see various improvements including an even higher quality product than we already have, and the ergonomic improvement to our processes will enhance safety and efficiency for our employees,” said John Flathman, vp— manufacturing operations, Indiana. “We also anticipate a growth in business resulting from the modernization of our facility as well as projected demand from customers, which will eventually create more jobs.”
Great Dane will furlough 530 workers during the retooling. The company, which is the largest employer in Clay County with over 1,200 employees, assured its workers that the temporary furloughs would be ended as swiftly as possible.
“Of the 530 employees who will be furloughed, we expect more than 125 employees will be back at work within a week, and another significant number to return a week after that,” said Flathman. “We hope to have the retooling completed and our production level back at full capacity within two to three months.”
Flathman added that the company expects strong sales to continue in 2005.
“We have strong order backlogs, and economic indicators are good for 2005,” he said. “We are implementing these improvements to upgrade and modernize as well as meet customer needs. As we grow and improve our processes and efficiency, we anticipate a growth in output, which will in turn require additional manpower.”