STARCO opens new solid tyre factory in Sri Lanka with a traditional initiation ceremony
After only three years of operation, the STARCO Sri Lanka solid tyre factory has outgrown its original manufacturing facility and has been replaced by a larger and more efficient plant which was officially opened on Tuesday 16th September. The opening of this modern well-equipped factory in which much attention has been paid to employee health and safety and welfare was marked by a traditional Sri Lankan ceremony in which the new workplace and its employees and management were blessed according to the local Buddhist tradition.
For STARCO, the establishment of a solid tyre manufacturing operation in Sri Lanka has been a brave and interesting experiment, marrying the LEAN manufacturing philosophy of a global company with the resourcefulness and creativity of the local population, in a country where the expertise production and processing of rubber goes back to the late 19th century.
As STARCO CEO Peer Ejlersgaard explains:
“We have built and developed many factories in many countries, but this was our first attempt at manufacturing our own rubber tyres. Previously we relied on the manufacturing capacity of others, but with our Fork Lift Truck tyre range we discovered that no manufacturer could deliver the quality and guarantee the manufacturing capacity which we demanded, so Sri Lanka was our solution and we gave it our best shot.”
The first three years have proved that the factory in Sri Lanka was a sound investment. The factory has produced the Tusker and Unicorn FLT tyres to the required level of quality and the products have been well received in the market, to the extent that it soon became necessary to expand the facility and implement a more efficient workflow to achieve a higher manufacturing capacity.
ASK – Availability, Service, Knowledge
As with the rest of the organization, STARCO Lanka is based on the ASK values. As Richard Todd explains: “From other STARCO facilities around the world we know that ‘Single Piece Flow’ ensures the highest quality and flexibility in our production – both key elements requested by our customers.” This LEAN manufacturing philosophy has been followed from the start and is clearly seen in the manufacturing and logistical layout.
Nothing happens without people
From the beginning, the plans for the factory also had a strong focus on the working environment. Richard Todd says: “Our people are our most important asset and are what differentiate us from our competitors. The standard of the working environment is clear indicator to all that we strive for excellence in everything that we do.”
The implications have therefore not only focused on health and safety in production, but also on all supporting facilities; changing rooms, canteen, training rooms and offices.
Tusker and Unicorn solid tyres
The new facility has a capacity of 100.000 solid tyres per year, and will produce the renowned premium fork lift tyre – the STARCO Tusker range, as well as the STARCO Unicorn range – our standard fork lift tyre.
With more than 50 years of experience and servicing more than 26 countries from our worldwide distribution network, The STARCO Group is Europe’s largest supplier of tyres, tubes, wheels, dual wheels and complete wheels for both the aftermarket and OEM.
The new facility in Sri Lanka is now in operation and in the coming years will remain the mainstay of STARCO solid tyre manufacturing, serving the global FLT market and proving that the initial risk was worth taking and that the STARCO motto “The Sky is not the limit” still holds true.
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