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MARION, SC, MARCH 25, 2010: Beneteau USA recently hosted its annual dealer council/service council in which some key dealers help chart the future course of the #1 leader of sailing in America. At this year’s council, held after months of transformation of the Marion factory, the plant was revealed to an overwhelming response of amazement from each dealer. There has been tremendous change at the plant beginning with a huge investment in a new CNC machine driven woodshop and a complete overhaul of all production areas. Beneteau USA Inc. has successfully reorganized its 250,000 square foot facility into the most modern big sailboat factory in America. Team members have transformed the 25 year old factory from the past style of eight independent production lines into a new, single line, continuous flow production facility comprising 20 operation positions. The outcome of this new way of building will allow shortened lead times, less work in process and greater flexibility in model mix. The Marion plant is now the only American sailboat plant able to build anything from 30 footers up to 50 footers, all in the same single production line with a lean manufacturing, just-in-time process, bringing the customer better value and quality.
“This is an amazing feat for our team, as it truly was an internal initiative that came from the leadership of our Vice President of Manufacturing, Gerard Martineau, working with the full spectrum of production from managers to those on the floor. They have developed a system that is unique in our end of the industry and will eliminate wasted time while improving quality and flexibility. Plus now from the wood shop on to a finished floating dream, we can proudly say it is all made in America.” said Wayne Burdick, President of Beneteau USA.
“I’m very proud of our Marion team members and the incredible job they did to transform the existing factory in this new mode of manufacturing, as the majority of the work was done with in-house talent. Throughout the past few years, we’ve gone to school together to learn about lean manufacturing, work flow, and value stream mapping; the results prove that the end justifies the means. This new production style combined with our great team of boat builders will launch Beneteau USA into a new era of excellent quality and quick delivery, continuing Marion’s claim of being the largest producer of sailing yachts on this continent,” stated Mr. Martineau.
Beneteau USA, the American division of the world’s largest sailboat manufacturer, builds hundreds of 31 to 50 foot production sailboats in Marion, SC and imports sailing and power yachts up to 58 feet in length from its parent company in France.
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