Cannondale 'streamlines' production; 52 factory workers pruned

Costs are being driven down thanks to an efficiency drive at Cannondale's Bedford bike building plant. This drive for efficiency in a flat US economy has led to job losses for factory workers, announced yesterday. Pegasus, the owner of Cannondale, announced a culling of top execs just before Interbike. The streamlining has been undertaken by Cannondale management, aided by a time-and-motion consultancy firm.
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"Improvements implemented at Cannondale's Bedford, Pennsylvania bike factory by a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based consulting firm are allowing the company to increase productivity while simultaneously reducing labor costs and increasing production flexibility."

That's the way Cannondale is announcing the job losses.

The changes, advised by Synergetics Installations Worldwide and carried out by Cannondale senior management

after a joint four-month project, will make the company "more competitive with the bike industry's numerous off-shore manufacturers," said a Cannondale press statement.

"Pegasus recognized significant opportunities to improve production efficiencies when they acquired Cannondale last May," said John Doerr, Cannondale's chief operating officer and president of operations.

"As we focused solely on bicycle production and learned the full extent of those opportunities, we owed it to our 650+ employees worldwide to make the right, albeit painful, decisions necessary to maximize our competitiveness."

The staff reduction was announced to employees at the Bedford factory yesterday.

Doerr said improvements had been made to the factory:

"We were able to institute process improvements and enhance the physical layout of the factory. We also improved materials flow throughout the facility, instituted new manufacturing systems, and consolidated CNC operations.

"The changes will not only make the factory more efficient, but also more flexible and responsive to changes in

marketplace demand. The improvements are consistent with our goal of being the world's leading high-performance bicycle manufacturer, and they'll allow us to better service our dealers and customers."

Larry Sarver, Cannondale's VP of manufacturing. said:

"Cannondale is the only major bike company that produces all of its bicycles in America, and we're very proud of that fact. Because we're paying US workers US wages, and our competitors are using cheap foreign labour, we absolutely have to keep our operations as lean and efficient as possible. Maximizing efficiencies and flexibility is critical to our competitiveness, and it's in the long-term best interests of our dealers, vendors and overall employee base."

Cannondale's first plant in Bedford employed just seven workers when it opened in 1977. Today Cannondale employs approximately 500 workers in the US, including nearly 400 in Bedford.

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