Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 68

Midwest

Polaris Industries Inc.

polaris elevated the role of process
engineers to increase their say in
streamlining production.

pabilities, the management talents and
the core operations of supply chain,"
Pucel says. For the first year-and-a-half,
Pucel focused on how to evolve the
manufacturing side of the business by
streamlining the materials movements,
cycle times and production speed
across all of Polaris's facilities. "Polaris
had grown so quickly over the last five
years that sometimes that growth was
chasing capacity and volume and sometimes wasn't optimized," he adds.
Polaris operates about seven main
manufacturing facilities globally
and has about 10 smaller production
BTD Manufacturing is a customer-focused,

growth-oriented manufacturing partner providing high
quality, innovative, customer-specific solutions to world
class brands. BTD has been recognized by Polaris as a Hall
of Fame supplier due to our high-quality performance
and on-time delivery. We support all of Polaris' product
lines, supplying them R&D Prototyping, In-house Tooling,
Stamping, Tube Cutting and CNC Bending, Laser Sheet
Cutting and Forming, Machining, Robotic and Hand Welding, Assembly and Paint. We work with their Engineering
Department on front-end development prototyping
vehicles, providing cost-effective production solutions
combined with the right process and materials to meet
budgets and timelines. BTD truly values our relationship
with Polaris, now spanning more than 35 years.

68

manufacturing-today.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

sites. Its newest facility, the Polaris
Huntsville Center of Manufacturing
Excellence, is a 910,000-square-foot
building outfitted with all the latest
manufacturing technologies and automation. The Huntsville, Ala., facility began production in May 2016 and
is largely focused on the company's
Ranger side-by-side utility vehicles.
Because it was a newly built facility, the Huntsville Center of Manufacturing Excellence was designed
to take advantage of all the lean efforts the company has been building
on. "We really built that [the facility] for flow," Pucel says. "It was the
next large step forward for Polaris in
terms of manufacturing lean."
Back shops are built right into the
facility to better service the assembly
line, handling processes such as tube
fabrication, welding, painting and
plastic injection molding. "That is an
improvement of historical legacy Polaris lean because we were able to lay
the plant out in a way without constraints," Pucel notes.

The lean improvements made at Polaris' Huntsville facility act as a blueprint for upgrades at the company's
other factories. "We've taken our best
practices across the globe and we're
copy-pasting that across the rest of
our plant network," Pucel says.
Although the existing layouts of
Polaris' older facilities prevent every
improvement from being incorporated, Pucel says the company is still using the lessons learned at Huntsville
to create better workflows and introduce automation. "Where we find a
reasonable payback we are investing
in technologies," he explains.
Among the areas where Polaris has
realized value is its investment in new
product introduction engineering.
In 2016, the company reorganized to
give its process engineers a greater
role in the product development and
design process. Now, those engineers
are more integrated in product development, they are better positioned to
advocate for decisions that streamline production.

Cultivating Suppliers
"We see lean as an enterprise and competitive advantage and we will continue to work on that,' Pucel says. Still, he
knows Polaris is not the only utility and
recreational vehicle maker to adopt
lean manufacturing. But Pucel believes
Polaris' size allows it to optimize the
supply chain with a bigger footprint.
About 80 percent of the cost of Polaris' vehicles comes from materials,
so the supply chain is an obvious target
for finding efficiency. "I view the suppliers as an extension of our manufacturing capabilities," Pucel says. "We
only add one-tenth of our total product
cost in our manufacturing facilities."
Some of Polaris' suppliers are longterm partners who have created proprietary technologies for its vehicles.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017

Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Table Of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 3
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - 4
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Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover3
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2017 - Cover4
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