EMC: Great day of networking and Argo rides at Ontario Drive and Gear (Vehicle division)

By Laura Gibson – April 18, 2011
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Our host for our April event was Ontario Drive & Gear (Vehicle Division). They produce the ARGO ATV which is sold worldwide and has proven capabilities as a reliable off-road vehicle in some of the world’s most remote regions. ODG has developed a wide range of options offering greater comfort, protection and convenience.

Our host for our April event was Ontario Drive & Gear (Vehicle Division).  They produce the ARGO ATV which is sold worldwide and has proven capabilities as a reliable off-road vehicle in some of the world's most remote regions.  ODG has developed a wide range of options offering greater comfort, protection and convenience. 

Senior Managers

During this SIG Joerg Stieber, President of ODG shared the history of ODG with us and where they are headed for the future.  It was amazing to see the products that had been made at this facility and what they are working at building in the future.

Some of the challenges the manufacturers in this group discussed included:

  • Parts shortages (12 week delivery on certain parts)
  • Skills shortages

At ODG (Vehicle division) they are very proud to say that they have less than 2 defects per 100 units.

Continuous Improvement : Measurable for First Run Capability on the Argo line

At the SIG we had a great tour of the facility then discussed the first run capabilities on the Argo line.  The challenge was if they can optimally produce 10 vehicles a day assuming nothing goes wrong (all raw material and labour present with no unscheduled interruptions or assembly errors) and they are only actually producing 8 this would mean their first run capability is 80%.  The issue is that vehicles are build to order so there is never a constant line flow as well as the challenge of the model mix and the extra time it takes to build an Argo with different options on it. 

Some of the suggestions made include:

  • Re evaluate production line layout - what about a rotary table to add options on
  • Designate a floater who goes from station to station to add options that go over takt time
  • How do you load the production schedule - all heavy ones same day then all light ones on different days?
  • Determine at what point should it be pulled off line for parts (space issue)
  • Re evaluate existing options and delete ones that are smaller or make them standard options
  • Start employees at different times to fit cycle time
  • Distribute options install to all stations to line balance
  • Use A3 problem solving to involve all employees in it
  • Involve operators in value stream exercise

Engineering:  New Product Development

During this SIG we discussed agile product development in a vertically integrated manufacturing environment. The challenge at ODG is balancing the need for rapid new product development with rigorous engineering procedures is a constant challenge in the ODG vehicle division (Argo facility).

Some questions discussed included:

 How do you release new products to the shop floor?  What challenges do you face with this?

  • How do you involve shop floor employees with new product development?
  • How do you add the new product to your current line capacities?
  • What challenges do you currently struggle with regarding new product development?

 Some points that were made:

  •  Volume of environment affects how you engineer something (i.e. 3 units a year versus 2000 Argos or millions of parts)
  • Challenge of customers not knowing what features/items they really want until something is designed.

 Human Resources: Compensation and Benefit Trends

 This SIG focused on current organization challenges relating to compensation and benefit trends.  

 Some questions we discussed included:

  •  How do you currently determine if you are in line with other organizations regarding compensation, benefits and pension?
  • What do you struggle with regarding compensation and pension?
  • Are there certain positions you feel you need to re-evaluate regarding compensation or may have to because of challenges with hiring?
  • What would you like to discuss with your peers regarding compensation and benefits?

 Some of the issues discussed included:

  • Who do you compare to for salaries?
  • Flex benefits - Ron Hansell of BHH benefits provided some good insight into how you introduce these to your organization; he mentioned that it is a communication exercise and can be about cost containment if you roll it out properly
  • ASO versus Standard insurance
  • What does your broker get paid?
  • Evaluate long term costs to your organization (i.e. retiree life insurance)
  • Do you do performance reviews for plant positions?

Thanks again to Ontario Drive and Gear (Vehicle division) for hosting a great event (and the Argo rides).  For more information on the KW/Cambridge Consortium please contact Laura Gibson at 226-388-3894 or via email at


About the author

Laura Gibson

Field Service Advisor - Brantford region/KW-Cambridge region/Hamilton/NiagaraExcellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC)

Well what can I tell you about me?First and most important I'm the Mom of 2 great boys - grade 5 and grade 8 this year - EKK!Second - I'm all about helping manufacturers! My…


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Posted By:
Laura Gibson
April 18, 2011

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