Manufacturing Today - Summer 2010 - (Page 55)

Black Diamond Equipment / HQ: Salt Lake City / Employees: 369 / Products: Rock climbing and ski equipment Mark Ritchie, vice president : “This is an interesting place because the vast majority of people in this company are core users.” Climbing to theTop black diamond offers a range of rock-climbing equipment and utilizes lean tools. by libby john Black Diamond Equipment – a Utah-based company that designs, develops and manufacturers rock climbing and backcountry ski equipment – is best known for its innovation, Vice President of Operations Mark Ritchie says. “We have designed, developed and manufactured more products in our market niches than any other single entity,” he says. “Our product line is extremely diverse, ranging from complex – engineering heavy climbing protection devices – to fairly straightforward products with fairly straightforward supply chains.” For example, several years ago, the firm introduced a backpack apparatus that allows people to breathe if they are trapped in an avalanche. It was originally invented by a doctor whose colleague had died in an avalanche while on a back country ski trip. “He researched the notion that snow pack has air in it and looked to see if there was a way to extract the air,” Richie explains. If this air could be extracted somehow, avalanche victims would be able to breathe while buried beneath the snow. “We took this concept and turned it into a product,” he says. “It is used by a lot of people in the backcountry environment and has saved lives.” The company strives to continuously upgrade its products. Most of its products have a two-year life cycle, Ritchie says. For example, the company has redesigned this product several times since its introduction and is working on a new design that will debut in 2011, he adds. “The new version of the Avalung will be more form-fitting and thereblack diamond’s product line ranges from simple items to complex equipment. SUMMER 2010 55

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Summer 2010

Manufacturing Today - Summer 2010
Global Strategies
Continuous Improvement
Smart Pricing
Supply Chain
Business Value
Moving Forward
Westmark Products
Byrne Dairy
Ultrafryer Systems Inc.
Wil-Rich LLC & Wishek MFG LLC
American Precision Fabricators
Aqua Products Inc.
Black Diamond Equipment
Columbian Home Products
Control Devices LLC
Endustra Filter Manufacturers Inc
Heil Trailer International
Assembled Products
Order-Matic Corp.
Professional Building Systems Inc.
Smart Start Inc
Bosal International
Ausco Products Inc.
Brodart Company
Cambrex Corp.
Chapin International Inc.
Cleveland Gear Co.
Consolidated Precision Products
Control Flow Inc.
Douglas Autotech Corp.
Fetzer Architectural Products
The FNA Group
Fourslide Spring and Stamping Inc.
G.A. West & Company
Great Lakes Power Group
Grimm Brothers Plastics
Legends Furniture Inc.
National Tube Supply Co.
Optex Systems Inc.
Sunburst Electronics
V.E. Enterprises Inc
W. Soule & Company
Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Today - Summer 2010