THEODORE, AL – “The owners here have done everything themselves that we’re doing in the shop and in the field,” says Matt Davidson, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Mack Manufacturing. “So when one of us brings them an idea, they know what we’re talking about!”
According to Davidson, the Mack tradition of bringing up family and staff through the full gamut of operations in the company is an important part of the firm’s strategy for continuous improvement of its crane attachment products. And Davidson has seen the results first hand.
“Before I came into sales, I was a service tech,” he explains. “We had a diesel-powered grapple delivered overseas that I had to do some work on. Once over there, I quickly found that engine mounting was making things difficult for me in the field. As soon as I got back to the shop I let them know. Pretty soon, they had developed a new mount that lets the engine slide right out for servicing. Now it’s a sweet deal!”
From the sales perspective, Matt Davidson has seen those ideas turn into practical and profitable benefits for Mack customers. “For a steel mill, downtime is always the problem to beat. Any problem that might result in an unexpected failure or costly service time has to be rooted out. Our problem-solving starts with excellent communications throughout the company.”
Nevin McElderry says that the “open door” policy that lets Mack technicians, engineers and shop staff work together as peers has always been part of Mack’s way of doing business. Nevin McElderry is General Manager of the manufacturing company. As the grandson of the firm’s founder, he is also one of the owners of the family business.
Nevin McElderry explains that he and his brothers were introduced to the business the same way his father was, learning its methods and operations from the ground level. “It helps us see problems from the technician’s and the operator’s viewpoint,” he continues. “Our open doors create a free flow of ideas through the company, from all our employees and our customers.”
Hydraulic grapples such as the ones Mack builds are not the most expensive piece of equipment in a steel mill, but they are a critical link in the process that keeps mills productive. Mack manufactures a comprehensive range of self-contained hydraulic grabs for use on the mills’ electrical overhead cranes. With models of all sizes based on both electrically powered and diesel powered hydraulics, including radio controlled units, the Mack design team is always encountering new challenges to meet customer applications, and new opportunities to improve the customer’s productivity.
Mack also manufactures smaller grapples for use on mobile equipment in scrap handling applications. “Whatever the application, ‘quality first’ is our priority, ‘’ Davidson says. “Our equipment is designed for a long service life, so efficient servicing is very important to us. We take pride in standing behind our warranty on any attachment. We put it together so we can take it apart; we build it so we can service it.”
While Mack has been building on hands-on experience since 1942, its open door approach reflects the most modern practices of today’s automotive plants. Where engineers once occupied “ivory tower” offices far removed from the factory floor, facilities now locate their product and process designers closer to the action, where they can see and respond to problems quickly. As Davidson points out, the culture of open-door communication doesn’t emerge overnight. “Openness flows from the top,” he concludes. “And its impact is on the bottom line.”
About Mack Manufacturing
Mack Manufacturing is a global leader in industrial material handling attachments, specializing in heavy-duty hydraulic grapples and buckets for overhead cranes and mobile equipment. Established in 1942, Mack continues to operate as a family-owned business committed to the development of highly skilled welders, fabricators and support staff. Mack’s head office facility in Theodore, AL, is fully equipped to complete every step of attachment manufacturing and remanufacturing tasks under one roof, from engineering to precision machining to final finish.
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