Springettsbury Township, York County—After a one year hiatus, the Harley Davidson open house is back, showing off a brand new factory. FOX43 was allowed to bring the first camera inside this state of the art, world class factory in York County.
Eight thousand tourists have passed through the new Harley plant since opening August First.
“And they begin with how fenders and fuel tanks are made and also how the frame, which is the backbone of motorcycle,” says Amy Warner, Manager of the Factory Tour Operations.
The fabrication section is followed by paint, assembly then a roll test. While the new factory is exciting for tourists, it’s also changing the lives of employees. The building of the softail, touring trike and CVOs are now under one giant roof. Forty-two buildings now merged into one giant warehouse.
“We've taken away some of the specialization. We used to build different models on different lines, now we've combined everything into one,” says Michael DiMauro, Communication Manager for Harley Davidson in York County.
Forklifts in the old building, now replaced with robots. The bikes’ tires never touch the factory floor. Also a shift in culture, employees are allowed a say in how things are run.
“I think how the people have come together, not just respond to change, but really take ownership of it and say here's what I want this company to be and here's how I want my job to be every day,” says DiMauro.
But with modernization and efficiency come painful decisions like layoffs, which will continue through the end of the year.
“I think really the hardest part is balancing the idea of creating something new while you're shutting down something old,” says DiMauro.
Employees look toward the future at what’s new. The York County plant is hosting its open house this Saturday October 1st. Everyone is allowed inside the factory that day, including children. Folks can also demo rides of all the Harley 2012 models. There will be food and music and Fox43’s Pride and Ride.
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