February '18

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34 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com A F T E R M A R K E T always thought outside the box when it came to approaching design for products and the machinery to develop them. Walking through the Retail Product Development Center (RPDC) in Kent, one can see hydraulic machines designed 41 years ago that are still used today. The latest mechanical addition to the Sumner facility is the 4-kilowatt laser cutter called the OptiPlex 4020 Fiber ii by Mazak Optronics. Hanging overhead near the entrance bay is a 6-foot wide, laser-cut steel sign that reads, "Simplify 2017." Every year, a word is selected to emphasize the operational approach Torklift will focus on. Last year was focused on internal cost reduction. Rather than channeling all energy into new products, Torklift paid special heed to concentrating on efficiencies, machinery acquisition, engineering, dealership displays, robotic welders to add to its steadily growing workforce, and allowing employees to pursue larger opportunities within the company. "We need people everywhere," says Crawford. The benefits of "Simplify" became obvious to the company. Last year, Tork- lift set a record. Aside from the year-over- year growth of 25 percent, the supplier paid out 1,500 hours less in overtime than in 2016. Before the move 14 miles south to Sumner, parts were manufactured next door to its RPDC. Again, Torklift has stepped over its capacity. A tent add-on was attached to the facility in 2016 for extra storage. Fin- ished goods are kept at a separate ware- house. And as if the seam-busting wasn't enough, the company is backordered through August. The supplier is currently looking toward its next relocation, which will only be miles away from the facility in Sumner and has not yet been decided. The success is not lost on the com- pany's retailers. Torklift implemented a resale pricing policy in 2015 for the brick-and-mortar dealers that has helped those retailers retain margins on the company's many products. Since implementing RPP, deal- er's profitability from selling the Torklift line of products has increased, for some, from 25 to 200 percent, according to Candice Kay. "Without them, we are nothing, because they take the time to get trained up on our products and educate the retail customer," she says. "We're supporting our dealer network, but, ultimately, we're supporting those families." Climbing Mountains Torklift, with more than 100 employees and a worldwide dealer network of more than 3,000, celebrated its 40th anniversary two years ago. And that notable achieve- ment was met with another. In September 2015, Jack Kay and Marketing Director Sheryl Bushaw ascended 14,411 feet up Mount Rainier, blogging their entire experience online at Torklift.com. When they reached Base Camp Two at an elevation of 11,500 feet, Jack Kay reflected on the climb in a blog post, saying that he was "carrying the hearts, At left, Jack Kay is pictured at a base camp pitched midway up Mount Rainier, which he and Torklift Marketing Director Sheryl Bushaw climbed in September 2015. The two are pictured above holding a Torklift sign at the mountain's summit. For Kay, the climb was symbolic: A figurative act of taking the entire Torklift team to the top of Washington state's highest mountain.

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