Spartan: Utilimaster’s Relocation ‘Will Pay Off’

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May 10, 2013 by   Comments Off on Spartan: Utilimaster’s Relocation ‘Will Pay Off’

The ongoing move of Utilimaster Corp. from Wakarusa, Ind., to nearby Bristol dragged down earnings of parent company Spartan Motors Inc. for the first quarter of 2013. But, according to a report by the Elkhart Truth, the company expects the move to pay off in the long run and is expanding Utilimaster’s product offerings.

“We completed the move of Utilimaster’s walk-in van business from Wakarusa to Bristol,” during the quarter, wrote John Sztykiel, president and chief executive of Spartan. “Our high-volume line is now running at expected rates. Now we are adding the lower-volume, mixed-model line, which should ramp up to expected rates during the second quarter. We are excited to see more than 12 months of hard work come to fruition in the form of a high-quality product coming off the line, 100% complete,” he wrote in the company’s quarterly results announcement May 8.

Company revenues were down 19.1% from the same quarter last year and the company posted a net loss of 13 cents per share, much of that attributed to the Utilimaster move.

John Forbes, Utilimaster president, said production in Bristol started in mid-February, moving from a “sprawling, 16-building campus with a 2 1/2-mile-long production line and outdoor inventory storage to one, efficient, self-contained facility.”

The company has figured out better ways to produce vehicles, an effort it expects to save $4 million a year when all is said and done. “The Bristol project represents a shift in culture as well as production methods and location,” Forbes said in the company announcement.

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