Monthly Archive for August, 2010

Caterpillar To Expand Manufacturing And Increase Employment In The U.S. With New Hydraulic Excavator Facility In Victoria, Texas

Caterpillar Excavator

Once fully operational, the facility is expected to employ more than 500 people and would triple Caterpillar’s U.S.-based excavator capacity

Caterpillar Inc. recently announced it has selected the city of Victoria, Texas, as the location for the company’s new state-of-the-art hydraulic excavator manufacturing facility. Ground breaking for the 600,000-square-foot manufacturing operation is scheduled to take place in September 2010. The facility is expected to begin production in mid-2012. Once fully operational, it will triple the current capacity of hydraulic excavators produced by the company in the United States, and would double the number of Caterpillar employees in the U.S. making excavators.

This announcement was released the day before the company’s annual analysts meeting, which was held at the New York Stock Exchange this year. Caterpillar Inc. CEO Doug Oberhelman reviewed the company’s updated five-year strategy and goals with analysts and investors this afternoon. During a presentation followed by a question and answer session held at the historic New York Stock Exchange, Oberhelman expressed confidence about Caterpillar’s growth opportunities throughout the world and the company’s strategic focus on operational execution, which will drive financial performance over the next five years.

Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar CEO

Oberhelman also discussed growth opportunities and highlighted a series of recent investments totaling more than $2.5 billion that will increase capacity in nearly all geographic regions around the world and will position Caterpillar to expand rapidly.

“We have streamlined our organization from the top down, and our leadership team is driving an intense focus on helping our customers succeed,” Oberhelman said. “From our factory floors to our research and development laboratories and everywhere across the company, we have the talent in place to win, and as we execute this strategy, we will deliver greater value to our customers, our stockholders and employees.”

The primary goals for the next five years are focused in three areas:

•            Delivering superior results – earnings per share growth, operating profit after capital charge (an internal metric for measuring business performance) and cash flow

•            Developing the best team of people – world-class safety and inclusion

•            Becoming the global leader everywhere we do business – from the quality

of our products, to PINS (percent of industry sales) and including aftermarket parts growth

The Caterpillar Production System (CPS) is the primary enabler of the company’s plan to execute the updated strategy. Since its implementation, CPS has already resulted in gains in product quality, cost savings and employee safety. CPS is also the key reason Caterpillar’s manufacturing efficiency has improved in every quarter since the end of 2008.

“Our primary goal for stockholders is delivering total shareholder returns over the business cycle in the top 25 percent of the S&P 500,” Oberhelman said. “To do that, we believe that we need to deliver compound annual earnings per share growth of 15 to 20 percent over the business cycle,” said Oberhelman. “We performed well during the downturn in 2009, and so far this year we’re doing better than we expected as we came into 2010. Last year, we discussed our 2012 profit goal of sales and revenues in a range of $55 to $60 billion, and earnings per share of $8 to $10 – and that’s still our goal for 2012. We are on the path to 15 to 20 percent growth over the cycle,” Oberhelman added.

In just the last two months, Caterpillar has announced a series of investments to open new facilities, expand existing operations, develop a new mining shovel product line and expand into the locomotive business with the acquisition of Electro-Motive Diesel. The company’s improved financial performance positions Caterpillar to continue making these strategic long-term investments in order to maintain its global industry leadership.

“These recent investments total more than $2.5 billion that Caterpillar is putting to work over the next several years in the United States, Brazil, China and India,” Oberhelman said. “Our leadership team will be held accountable to deliver on these goals so that we can help our customers become more profitable. When that happens, everyone wins.”

The decision to increase manufacturing capacity and employment in the United States, which was discussed during the analysts meeting,  is part of Caterpillar’s long-term strategic initiative to develop the appropriate global footprint to competitively produce hydraulic excavators.

“Based on our comprehensive review of possible locations, Victoria’s proximity to our supply base, access to ports and other transportation, as well as the positive business climate in Texas made this the ideal site for this project,” said Gary Stampanato, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for excavators. “Caterpillar is committed to maintaining its global leadership position in the excavator industry, and this new facility in Texas will play an important role in our long-term plans to provide customers in every region of the world with the products and solutions they need to help them with their businesses.”

“Texas is the best place in the nation to grow your business, and nobody knows that better than the companies that are already here in the Lone Star State,” Texa

Governor Rick Perry said. “This Texas Enterprise Fund investment in Caterpillar will help create good jobs to Texans, and this expansion is proof that our combination of low taxes, reasonable regulations, fair legal system and world-class workforce is working to attract and retain the best employers in the world.”

Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong said, “Victoria is proud to play a role in Caterpillar’s plans to expand its hydraulic excavator manufacturing in the United States, while at the same time Caterpillar will be an important part of the work to reinvent Victoria.”

Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi added, “I am excited that a company with the global stature of Caterpillar has selected our community and in these economic times, I am certainly happy that Victoria County is positioned to help a project that will put local people to work.”

Currently in the U.S., Caterpillar produces two excavator models at a facility in Aurora, Ill., where it also produces wheel loaders, soil and landfill compactors, wheel dozers and components. In addition, Caterpillar produces excavators in Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Indonesia, Japan and Russia. The new facility will manufacture the two models now made in Aurora, as well as several additional excavator models now produced in Akashi, Japan, and exported to the United States. The expansion of excavator production in the U.S. will allow the Caterpillar facility in Japan to better serve the growing demand for excavators in Asia. Caterpillar has also recently announced plans to quadruple excavator capacity at its manufacturing facility in Xuzhou, China, primarily in support of growing demand in the Chinese market.

“We are making a number of these long-term investments in our global excavator business so that we are appropriately positioned to support Caterpillar’s corporate strategy,” said Rich Lavin, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for construction industries. “This will enable us to maintain our global leadership position while delivering superior products to our customers and results for stockholders.”

America’s Equipment Manufacturing Industry Responds to Sluggish Economic News

Dennis Slater, AEM President

Statement from Dennis Slater, President of Association of Equipment Manufacturers

News that the U.S. economy grew at a slower pace than expected in the second quarter of 2010 should sound an alarm to Congress. There is an urgent need for job creation in this country. While there are no easy political fixes to jolt unemployment numbers or the GDP, our leaders need to acknowledge the reality that national policies to keep manufacturing strong in this country are inadequate and have failed to create the certainty that manufacturers need to invest and hire.

Congress needs to immediately pass a new transportation bill that addresses urgently needed safety, rebuilding and modernization issues across the nation. Now is the time to build and repair America’s roads and bridges for the good of the country. Infrastructure investment is a proven economic engine with staying power – not only does it drive growth, it creates lasting benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 30,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure. And a modernized infrastructure system will give America the competitive edge in the global economy while improving the lives of Americans for generations to come.

Stimulus money is nearing an end, state and local budgets continue to shrink, and with a slowing recovery, the prospects for a sustained rebound in sales and employment are weakening.

Over the past 10 years, manufacturing in the U.S. has shed 5.5 million jobs. Unemployment in the manufacturing sector remains higher than the national average. There has been some recovery of lost jobs, but the rebound is much slower than it should be.

Infrastructure investment is the most effective action we can take to change this picture. We need a new national manufacturing policy that creates American jobs and rebuilds America’s infrastructure.

Flint Equipment To Carry Atlas Copco Compressors, Generators, Attachments And Tools

Flint Equipment Company, headquartered in Albany, Georgia, is now the Atlas Copco Construction Equipment Distributor for the State of Georgia.  Flint Equipment will represent the full ACCE line including portable air compressors, portable generators, hydraulic attachments and handheld tools.

“We have carried Atlas Copco hammers in the past and thought they were a good product. We wanted to continue what we offered from Atlas Copco,” said Todd Smith, Operations Manager at the Atlanta and Adairsville Flint Equipment Company locations.

Mike Shannon, Area Sales Manager for Atlas Copco Construction Equipment, commented that adding Flint Equipment to the distributor network “presents great opportunities for both Atlas Copco and Flint Equipment.  Flint Equipment’s broad footprint across Georgia and the surrounding areas, along with their experienced construction equipment sales teams and product support organizations, are a great fit with Atlas Copco’s objectives of growth through strong distribution.”

Shannon said, “I’m thrilled to have Flint Equipment on board. They’re a superior dealer and I’ve been enjoying working with them.” Shannon added that Flint’s success as a John Deere engine supplier over a six-state area, along with their extensive agricultural and forestry equipment distribution network, speaks well to its reputation for quality sales and service.

Flint Equipment personnel are in the process of receiving training on Atlas Copco systems and products to ensure that their customers receive the highest quality representation and product support for the Atlas Copco equipment lines represented.

Flint Equipment Company started out small as a tractor sales and service location in 1932. It grew to the heavy construction business, where it has had a presence for more than 40 years as a full-service dealer of new and used construction, forestry, utility, compaction and mining equipment. It now has 17 offices in three states with nearly 300 employees.

Motor Power Equipment, Billings MT Completes Major Expansion, Enhances Customer Support

Motor Power Equipment recently completed a major $4 million expansion of its full-service dealership in Billings, MT.

Motor Power Equipment – Billings, a Kenworth dealer, more than doubled its facility size to 60,000 square feet on 10 acres.

The service department area is more than 36,000 square feet in size and has 34 bays, including Kenworth PremierCare ExpressLube, quick repair and trailer bays. The dealership also has a 5-ton overhead crane, mobile truck lifts, special OEM tooling to diagnose and repair critical components such as engines and transmissions, wireless fluid tracking system, and a dedicated body shop. The parts operation features a larger parts display area, nearly 5,000 square feet of additional parts warehouse space for excellent availability, and knowledgeable staff. Amenities include a large driver’s lounge with a 55-inch LED flat screen television and data ports for notebook PCs, and a large training room for customer and employee use.

“We made a very significant investment to create a modern, state-of-the-art truck dealership, which will provide expanded customer support in new and used trucks, parts and service, and the body shop,” said Brian Sunwall, vice president of Motor Power Equipment, which also operates Motor Power Kenworth – Great Falls.

“We also thought it was important – from both a business and good citizen perspective – to utilize energy-efficient technologies and construction methods,” said Sunwall, who noted that the facility was constructed with tilt-up concrete to reduce heating and cooling costs and polycarbonate clear overhead doors and skylights to add natural light and solar heat.  Motor Power Equipment – Billings also uses timers on radiant heaters in each service bay; high-output, energy-efficient light fixtures; motion-controlled light and plumbing fixtures; time clocks for light and heating and air conditioning systems; and an electrical outlet shut-off system.

“Customer response to our new facility has been very positive so far, and we had more than 650 customers attend our grand opening in June,” said Marilyn Sunwall, vice president of Motor Power Equipment, who coordinated the major construction project in conjunction with her son, Brian Sunwall. “Motor Power Equipment – Billings serves a wide variety of market segments, including food distribution, agricultural commodities, heavy equipment transportation, vocational and energy-related activities from Montana east of the continental divide and most of Wyoming.”

The dealership offers Kenworth PremierCare parts and service programs, and PACCAR Financial support through flexible retail loans, leases and insurance products for the transportation industry.

Motor Power Equipment – Billings is conveniently located at 4941 Midland Road near Exit 447 from Interstate 90.

Oklahoma Commission Adopts $4.3Billion Road, Bridge Plan

By TIM TALLEY (AP) Source Google News

A $4.3 billion plan to improve or replace hundreds of bridges and highways across the state over the next eight years was adopted Tuesday by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

The ambitious plan, which includes more than 1,750 transportation projects statewide, will mean Oklahoma will no longer be the state with the highest percentage of deficient bridges in the nation, said Gary Ridley, transportation secretary and director of the state Department of Transportation.

“This is a really good day for the agency; not just for the agency but the people of Oklahoma,” Ridley said.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re moving up the list.”

The plan, which outlines proposed spending on road and bridge projects through 2018, includes more than 650 bridge replacements or major rehabilitations as well as improvements to segments of Interstates 35, 40 and 44 and other major roads.

“The overall condition of our roadways will vastly improve,” Ridley said.

In 2002, The Road Information Program, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that promotes policies that improve roads and bridges, reported that Oklahoma had the highest percentage of deficient bridges in the nation, with one-third of bridges 20 feet or longer in need of repair or replacement.

The Transportation Department estimated more than 3,000 miles of Oklahoma’s 12,266 miles of highways — about 25 percent — were inadequate and in need of improvement or replacement and about one-third of Oklahoma’s driving surfaces, about 4,300 miles, were in poor condition.

State lawmakers began putting more emphasis on transportation in 2005 and dedicated more state tax dollars to road and bridge maintenance, resulting in a steady increase in spending on transportation needs.

In 2003, the state’s first eight-year road and bridge plan totaled $1.8 billion — less than half the current plan. About 530 bridges have been replaced or rebuilt since 2005 and other improvement projects have been authorized on major roads and highways across the state, Ridley said.

“We can see the fruits of our labor over the last five years,” Ridley said. “We’ve seen major improvements in our investment in the system. That has to continue.”

The department’s goal is to replace or rehabilitate 100 bridges a year, he said.

Ridley said transportation officials were able to accelerate the pace of many projects in the eight-year plan after the state received $465 million in federal economic stimulus money for transportation.

About 80 percent of projects listed in the plan, which relies on state and federal dollars, are actually performed, he said.

The commission authorized Ridley to execute agreements with the Oklahoma Capital Improvement Authority to repay debt from a $215 million transportation bond issue authorized by the Legislature in 2008. Officials have said the bond issue is needed to keep the eight-year highway plan on track.

Transportation commissioners also approved a $28 million contract to pave part of a new 4.5-mile long section of the Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway in Oklahoma City, the first of four paving contracts that will complete the project.

“What this is is the start of the finish,” Ridley said. Bids for two other paving contracts will be received this month and bids for the final contract will come in next spring.

The new highway is scheduled to open in 2012. The project will cost about $650 million.