VIDEO: JB Attachments open day

By: Editor, Photography by: Dave Lorimar


One thing we discuss at DOW HQ on a semi-frequent basis is the lack of promotion that some manufacturers in the construction and agricultural industries put into marketing their products, so it was a nice shot-in-the-arm to see JB Attachments take the initiative and hold an open day recently.

Straight off the bat, it was obvious that a lot of organisational work was behind the event, with well-set-out displays, adequate numbers of staff to mingle with visitors and the important provision of necessities, such as food, water and coffee.

As well as new buckets and attachments, similar to a car lot, there were on display a good number of buckets and attachments that had been in storage. They were all in very good condition and more than capable of hard work — and at very reasonable prices. With the large variety available, this is one place that would be at the top of my shopping list.

One thing that events such as these are good for is to jog the memory. In my case it was good being reminded of the types of different equipment that JB Attachments manufactures.

A product high on the marketing manager's list at the moment is the new Series 2 Multi-Coupler (featured in DOW 240), and it was good being able to speak directly to a senior mechanical design engineer about my experiences with quick-release couplers. Judging by our conversation, feedback from the end user seems to form a big part of the design and post-design process. Hopefully they'll put me on speed-dial to look at future prototypes (shameless plug there).

After spending time looking at the finished products, it was time to look at the manufacturing process.

According to the JB Attachments work schedule, the Series 2 commercial production begins in December 2013 for the six-tonne Multi-Coupler; February 2014 for the 14-tonne Multi-Coupler; March 2014 for the 20 and 35-tonne Multi-Couplers; and April 2014 for the eight-tonne Multi-Coupler.

Donning safety glasses and vests, we were taken on a guided tour of the manufacturing facilities, being led by team leader supervisor Lance Rakuraku and general manager – production, Kevin Hawkins.

This tour was something of an eye-opener for me, as I hadn't really expected to see a high degree of electronic technology in use. There's been a massive investment in hi-tech equipment to ensure quality (with a capital 'Q') is delivered. It seems that in a throwaway world, JB Attachments is building for the long haul — both in terms of product-life and as a business entity.

Another reason behind the big investment in technology efficiency is the quantifying of individual component parts — a system that ultimately enables the assembling of specific models soon after being ordered. Rakuraku says an urgent order can be processed quickly, without its production impeding much on the workflow of the rest of the facility.

Also surprising me was the candid way the manufacturing process was explained to us. We were told that around 40 staff were employed here, and to all intents and purposes it looked like a very smoothly run operation.

Rakuraku and Hawkins told us their previous lives were with Fisher & Paykel production, and to me the high-volume, high-quality and socially-responsible ethos they were explaining to us, was a result of their pedigree. Working as one team showed through and I felt right at home when told that almost all male staff were participating in the Movember competition. The others already had moustaches or were too young to grow them.

To me, getting participation in activities such as Movember showed a high level of company ownership by employees and what can be achieved with good leaders.

Having a social conscience can also have benefits, with JB Attachments running a program during school holidays to give students an introduction to working life.

For those that show initiative it can also be the beginning of an apprenticeship with the company.

Prior to attending the event, I was wondering how JB Attachments were handling the onslaught of all the different manufacturers that have made themselves known in recent times. It appears that JB's have picked up the gauntlet and I can rest my mind, as they are showing that when it comes to quality and efficiency, Kiwi manufacturing is hard to beat.

If you happened to miss out on this event and are interested in any of JB Attachments clearance stock, I would suggest calling one of the sales team today.

For more information contact (09) 278 4863 or jbattachments.com.

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