York Pa Harley Factory Tour
Michael.Buehrle at ottawa.ca
Fri Jul 12 15:13:03 PDT 2013
I took my young adult kids to see the battlefields at Gettysburg. Today was rather rainy so we made a side trip through York to see the newest manufacturing facility HD has.
York, HD vehicle manufacturing is a mecca for any gear head traveling through the area with a 2 hr. wait for the next tour. Tours go every half hour. With a past life in automotive parts manufacturing, I found this facility is amazingly automated, organized and clean. Kaizen manufacturing is where the employees are empowered to affect the improvement of the product.
Interestingly, their paint line is the most important part of the process with absolute clean rooms being employed instead of traditional paint booths. 2 colour paint jobs take 12 hrs. to complete and then there is still the retouches or repair buffs to do where required.
A couple of things come to mind from our tour:
1) The image of the Harley is more important than technological superiority.
2)The rise and fall of HD's fortunes since 1903 have somewhat mirrored America's economy, where both have seemed to stumble and accel in unison. Right now HD is still in recovery mode from a big downturn but still exports 30% of her 250,000 units produced.
OK 3 things: The water main to the plant burst at the ring road and they quickly installed outhouses as we arrived. I always said riding one of those things was like riding a sh*thouse but they just made it too easy today. See attached photo next email, if I can get Microsoft webmail to work.
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