Hose That Goes The Distance
3X Around The Equator... And Right To Your Work Site
To put that number into context, consider this: That’s enough hose to wrap around the Earth’s equator three times. Enough to travel the length of the Mississippi River 32 times. Enough to take you about a third of the way to the moon.
Bottom line: It’s a lot of hose — some that gets shipped around the world and some that stays right here at home. After all, Pomona is just 341 miles (that’s 1.8 million feet) from Foley Equipment’s main store in Wichita, Kansas.
“Our focus is on making sure that wherever Caterpillar customers are, they have the hose they want when they want it, and that it’s the best possible quality,” says Darrell Bailey, supply chain manager for the 225,000-square-foot high performance hose facility in Pomona.
Made locally, used locally
Someone who knows firsthand the importance of easy access to high-quality hose is Kevin Caldwell, parts manager for Foley Equipment’s Manhattan, Kansas, store. He’s responsible for the onsite hose shop, which goes through about 500 feet of hose every couple of weeks.
“The ability to acquire hose from Pomona and not have to worry about it coming from overseas is a big advantage for our customers,” Caldwell says. “If we didn’t have that constant supply, people wouldn’t have their machines up and running.”
That’s because hose, despite being a relatively low-dollar component, plays an oversize role in overall machine performance. When it bursts — which rarely happens at a good time — it releases all of a machine’s hydraulic system pressure, effectively rendering the equipment incapable of operation.
“Hose is not a huge component on a machine, but without it the entire machine is useless,” Caldwell says.
A commitment to keep the hose coming
Several years ago, facility leaders encouraged employees to take photos of Cat® equipment in action wherever they were — whether they were on vacation or just driving around town — and submit them for display at the plant.
What started as a fun exercise turned into something bigger. Employees didn’t simply take photos but also started conversations with the people running the equipment.
“Our employees began to connect the hose they make every day to the work that’s happening on a jobsite,” Bailey says.
“They know that if we’re not making hose, or if we have a quality problem, then somebody somewhere in the world has to stop their machine because of us.
That’s a responsibility we all take very seriously.” So seriously that the Pomona plant has taken a number of steps to ensure it can remain operational — or get back up and running very quickly — in case of an emergency. That includes switching from a build-to-order to a build-to-stock inventory model.
“We have enough inventory of wire that if something happened to one or two of our wire suppliers, we could still make hose for two months without ever ordering another box,” Bailey says.
“We have contingency plans we’re constantly adjusting because we realize how important what we do here is to the customer.”
Any machine, any brand, any time
The Manhattan hose shop is the only repair shop within an hour’s drive of that location, which means area farmers, construction companies and a host of other businesses rely on it to keep hose-related downtime to a minimum.
A nearby mining operation, for example, has the Manhattan’s on-call phone, manned by Parts Sales Representative, Shane Thompson, on their speed dial.
“They have a continuous underground miner — a huge piece of machinery that makes millions of dollars a month,” Caldwell says. “We’ve helped keep it up and running for the past six years. Any time of the day or night, when they call with a hose problem, we come in and build the hose, and they drive in from 90 minutes away to get it.”
Foley Equipment’s hose shops can build most hose assemblies in about 30 minutes. That’s not just for Cat machines but for all brands of construction and ag equipment, as well as semi-trucks. An electronic parts interchange system makes it easy for store personnel to look up another brand’s part number and get all the necessary specs.
“There’s a huge array of equipment we can fix,” Caldwell says. “We may not have sold you the machine, but we can help you keep it running.”
It’s not only speed and convenience that keep people coming back to Foley Equipment for hose service, though. It’s also the quality of the product. The Pomona facility uses proprietary materials and design processes to ensure Cat high-pressure hose stands up to the toughest operating conditions.
“The hose sells itself,” Caldwell says. “Many of our customers, including those who operate other brands of equipment, tell us that Cat hose is more affordable and better quality than what they can get elsewhere. They keep coming back because of the value.”
Value that goes the distance — literally.
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