Machinery News

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Tractor manufacturer’s anniversary marked by factory expansion

Massey Ferguson chose the 19th November for the official opening of its newest factory

Massey Ferguson chose the 19th November, exactly 56 years since the company was formed when Massey Harris took over Ferguson, for the official opening of its newest factory which the company said is great news for farmers, allowing it to remain competitive in terms of quality, productivity and price. David Williams was at the event.Beauvais is a small town north of Paris, and for many years Massey Ferguson has been its largest privately owned employer. Since manufacture of the company’s tractors moved to its 25.5ha site there 53 years ago, sales have increased significantly and with no room for expansion beyond its existing boundaries, production and storage has become increasingly compromised.In 2010 the company’s Fast Forward project was launched to examine every aspect of the business. “The customer has a choice”, points out Massey Ferguson Europe, Africa and Middle East vice president and managing director Richard Markwell. “It is a highly competitive market and the intention was to identify areas where productivity and quality could be improved, but every time we identified an area for improvement we were frustrated by the lack of available space.”In spring 2012, an opportunity arose to purchase an industrial site in the town a mile from the existing factory and, having investigated the feasibility of setting up an additional manufacturing facility, the site was purchased. Seventeen months later, and following a 15.5m investment, a new 6,700m2 building has been erected and is producing the cabs for tractors built at the Beauvais plant including Massey Ferguson, as well as some Challenger and Valtra models.”We have an excellent and very loyal workforce at Beauvais and were determined to involve the employees at every possible stage of the expansion,” explains Richard. “We used no external consultants at all, drawing on the knowledge and experience of our existing staff to work out what was needed, and this proved very popular with our happy and proud employees.”Relocation
Of the various manufacturing processes at the tractor factory, relocation of cab production made the most sense, as the cabs were made to individual specification and then fitted almost complete, and are easily transported between sites. A state-of-the-art cab production line has been in operation since early September at the new site, and 20 lorry loads of cabs are transported daily to meet the tractors coming off the production line. Relocation of a significant amount of spare parts stock to the new factory has released further space.The factory was designed without the use of any external consultants, Massey Ferguson staff deciding what would work best in each area.“Shortage of indoor storage had meant that some quite sensitive components, including engines and transmissions, had to be stored outdoors so having the space now available inside the buildings is a significant improvement,” said Richard.Relocation of cab production as well as the parts stock was carried out during the factory’s annual summer shutdown, over a five week period between late July and early September. Cab production at the new factory began on 2nd September, with 90 per cent of usual production planned for days two and three, and on day two the first cab produced entirely at Beauvais 2 was fitted to a tractor at Beauvais 1.Approximately 84 cabs per day are assembled currently on the line, but up to 100 can be produced during a single shift. Cab types and specifications vary, the production supplied on a just-in-time basis to match the requirements of the tractor line. At any one time there are 24 cabs being built, and each takes three hours to assemble, including the fitting of any options selected by the customer. Every cab is tested on one of three test benches, and details of the employee responsible for each cab are recorded to ensure quality.Cab production is the new building’s main activity, and up to 100 cabs can be built during a single shift. Every cab is thoroughly tested to make sure all components function correctly.Dedicated training facility
Investment in the new site has also allowed another important aspect of the business to be improved. The new site provided space for a dedicated and permanent training centre. “It is tailor-made, and professional and our plan is to provide training for up to 1,000 delegates per year,” explains Richard.”There are three training rooms; with space for 6, 12 and 20 trainees, including a sales training area to improve our staff’s and dealers’ knowledge of Massey Ferguson products compared with competitor machines, a brand promotion area and a precision farming products training area. Keeping up to date with the latest precision farming equipment is essential for our dealers, as this area of business grows, and the price of the latest technology can account for up to 20 per cent of the tractor purchase price.”
Outside at the rear of the factory is an area where tractors can be test-driven and a covered storage area.Finance relocated
The company’s own finance department; Agco Finance, has also relocated to the new building, and Richard explains that, currently employing 49 full-time staff, it is an area of business which has experienced significant growth during the past five years.Massey Ferguson says that involving the staff in the design and layout of the new plant was a total success, and the design of some of the equipment built for handling components was based on ideas and experience of the workforce.”Beauvais 2 is very efficient and the employees enjoy working there and have a lot of pride in the facility. It has set a benchmark, and we will be using its success to help us improve the working environment and efficiency at Beauvais 1 in the future,” explains Richard. Positive futurePictured (l-r) Agco senior vice president & general manager Europe, Africa and Middle East, Rob Smith; Martin Richenhagen and Richard Markwell at the official opening of Beauvais 2.Agco Chairman, president and CEO, Martin Richenhagen comments that the team at Massey Ferguson is very committed and engaged and that the company has never had a better range of products. “Massey Ferguson has experienced a renaissance in recent years,” he says. “It is back and everyone talks about it now. This was especially evident at Agritechnica where there were a lot of enquiries as well as orders for next year. By 2016 we want to be number one in terms of quality and customer satisfaction and I promise this team will achieve this.”


  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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