American LaFrance officials announced that the company will consolidate all corporate manufacturing into the Summerville, SC, headquarters and manufacturing facility.
“We have a state-of-the-art facility,” says Bill Hinz, President and CEO of American LaFrance. “Consolidating all manufacturing operations to Summerville will allow us to work off the same systems, eliminate redundancy, reduce costs in having to manage multiple facilities, and allow us to share services across all business units of American LaFrance, including our military assembly projects with PVIA, a military-armored, protected-vehicles company recently purchased by our parent Patriarch Partners.”
American LaFrance has already started consolidating equipment from the other facilities into the Summerville facility.
“We have a phenomenal facility in Summerville with 435,000 square feet of manufacturing space,” says Brady Crandall, Director of Manufacturing Engineering. “We can accommodate all tooling and equipment from the other facilities into our main plant and continue to build our product line. The consolidation into Summerville will allow us set up the fire body manufacturing to fit more in line with an automotive assembly process. This will allow us to reduce seldom-used option content, but still offer customization both on and off the assembly line.”
American LaFrance will continue to build its current line-up of fire and vocational trucks in Summerville.
“We are putting our flag in the ground,” says Hinz. “We intend to roll out a new customer service program in the coming months to better serve our customers. We have to be a better company to those that support us and we have to improve our deliveries. That will happen. We will become more aggressive in our parts business as we expect more fire departments to delay purchases requiring them to service their older vehicles.”
To entice the world’s oldest manufacturer of fire apparatus to remain in the state, the South Carolina Department of Commerce along with the Charleston Regional Development Alliance approved an incentive package based on the future growth of the company.