Little more than a year after breaking ground on its new refrigerated trailer manufacturing plant in Statesboro, the Great Dane facility has now opened for production.
“We are thrilled to finally open the doors of our brand new production facility here in Statesboro”, President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Crown said. “This building reflects the diligence and focus of countless individuals over the past two years, working together toward this day in some of the most difficult economic times we can remember. Just as Great Dane has set the standard for excellence with our products over the past century, this plant sets a new standard for cutting-edge manufacturing and efficiency. We are proud that it will serve as a model of the most technologically advanced, environmentally sound production practices in the world.”
Great Dane's new plant encompasses 450,000-sq. ft., including office space and a 3,000-sq. ft. climate-controlled, noise-free customer preview center. This particular facility is dedicated to manufacturing the company's all-new Everest refrigerated trailers, the TL model reefer for truckload carriers and the CL model reefer built especially for the unique needs of multi-temp and foodservice operations, especially those in the Southeast of North America. Great Dane has remained committed to serving this market for nearly 75 years since pioneering the refrigerated trailer industry with the first wet ice bunker and gas engine and blower system for hauling produce over long distances.
Joining a network of seven other strategically located Great Dane manufacturing plants, the Statesboro facility was designed and built to be the most modern and efficient in the world. Breakthrough technologies incorporated include the use of robotic welding, automated production processes, computer-controlled foaming operations and an optimized material handling system for quality and efficiency. In accordance with Great Dane's pledge to keep its environmental impact as low as possible, numerous green initiatives have been put in place, including energy-efficient lighting and the use of a building management system to automatically control lights, air quality and building temperature; programs to reduce water consumption; and the use of load monitors to ensure optimal energy consumption.
Perhaps most notable about Great Dane's newest manufacturing facility is its location on 118 acres in Bulloch County, just 50 miles from the company's roots in Savannah. The location was selected for a variety of reasons, including its economy. As the state unemployment rate hovers above nine percent, the plant will bring more than 400 greatly needed jobs to the area. Plant Manager Kevin Black, a veteran at Great Dane, commented on his role overseeing the production facility. “I am honored to lead the team here in Statesboro and to be a part of the century-old tradition of building the best trailers in the trucking industry. It's been rewarding to be a part of the start-up process, partnering with members of the community, the city of Statesboro and Bulloch County to get staff hired and trained and ready to work,” Black said.
The Great Dane manufacturing plant in Statesboro will begin operating with one production line, with a second line and second shift to start up later in the year. At full capacity, the new facility will be able to produce more than 5,000 trailers annually. Crown is optimistic about reaching this capacity quickly and about the future.