July 5, 2017

Colson Group USA appoints Vice President of Sales

Colson Group USA’s strategy continues to be:

  1. Best position Colson for growth as the global leader in the caster industry
  2. Continue to bring Colson together as one company and align us for the future

We are pleased to announce that Shelley DePuy has joined the Colson Group USA team as Vice President of Sales.

Shelley brings customer-focused leadership experience in all Colson Group USA’s primary sales channels: OEM, Distributor, and Industrial channels.  Most recently, she held the role of Director of Sales for the Kidde Fenwal division of United Technologies Corporation, a manufacturer of fire suppression systems. Prior to that role she worked with PBC Linear as their Director of Sales and Marketing.  Shelley holds a Bachelor of Science from State University of New York and a Master’s in Business Administration from Suffolk University.

Shelley will lead Colson Group USA’s three unique sales channels and continue to work with each to further develop winning customer relationships and growth strategies that support Colson Group USA’s leading solutions portfolio and industry position.

February 28, 2017

Colson Group Appoints Chief Operating Officer and U.S. Director of Quality

Colson Group, the largest global manufacturer and supplier of caster, wheel and mobility solutions, announced today the appointments of Christopher Cummins as chief operating officer (COO) and Lawrence “Larry” Higgins Jr. as director of U.S. quality.

“Chris and Larry bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Colson Group leadership team,” said Colson Group CEO, Tom Blashill. “We are excited for them to support our commitment to customer satisfaction, while continuing to grow our business as the global market leader in the casters and wheels.”

Christopher Cummins

Christopher Cummins

In his new role as a key member to the senior management team, Cummins, is responsible for driving global operations, procedures and supply chain excellence. With 24 years of experience in manufacturing, sales and marketing, finance, supply chain and global sourcing, lean principles and Six Sigma, Cummins served in a number of leadership roles prior to joining Colson Group. Most recently, he was chief manufacturing officer at DiversiTech Corp. in Atlanta. Prior to this, he served as senior vice president and chief manufacturing officer at Tecomet Inc. in Boston and earlier was general manager at Danaher Corp.

Cummins earned a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He also earned certifications in executive management, strategy and competition in general management from Harvard Business School in Boston and lean enterprise system design from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville business school.

Larry Higgins

Lawrence “Larry” Higgins, Jr.

With more than 20 years of experience in quality and production, Higgins is responsible for supporting Colson Group USA in driving improved quality throughout the global organization. Before joining the company, he served in various roles of increasing responsibility at Eaton Corp. in Galesburg, Mich., functioning as regional supplier development and quality manager. Prior to Eaton, Higgins was with Visteon Corp., as production and quality management.

Higgins earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

December 10, 2015

Alignment for the Future

This September, Colson Group USA announced the final step in its business strategy to align the company for the future. The plans include a new world-class national distribution center (DC) that will be located next to its St. Joseph, MI manufacturing plant, as well as the advancement of heavy-duty caster manufacturing in its two Michigan manufacturing plants.

(See “National DC Overview” and “Heavy-Duty Caster Manufacturing” for additional details.)

The establishment of the DC follows multi-million dollar investments in the company’s manufacturing facilities, and is the final infrastructure move in their transformation to operate as “one.” Previous to this transformation, the individual brands of Colson Group USA operated as autonomous companies. Beginning in 2013, the individual companies began the transformation into Colson Group USA to harness global synergies and further advance their leading position in the marketplace.

“The Colson team has done a great job completing a number of key initiatives during the past couple of years driving the transformation of Colson Group USA,” said Tom Blashill, Colson Group’s CEO. “Our vision and strategy have remained the same – to best position Colson Group USA for growth as the global leader in the caster industry and continue to bring Colson together as one company. Our USA manufacturing and distribution strategy positions us to deliver great value to our customers and drive growth in our business.”

The new 170,000-square-foot national DC, slated to open early 2016, will work in tandem with Colson Group USA’s manufacturing plants and auxiliary distribution facilities to simplify customers’ ordering experience, while also advancing the group’s operational capabilities.

“We want to enhance our distribution capabilities while allowing our plants to focus on manufacturing excellence,” said Blashill. “Distribution plays a significant role in our customers’ experience, and we look forward to delivering our full range of product solutions from our world-class DCs.”

December 10, 2015

National DC Overview

Excitement is building as Colson Group USA is rapidly advancing with the development of its new national distribution center located in St. Joseph, MI. Designed with the latest in distribution practices and technologies, the advanced 170,000-square-foot facility will be Colson Group USA’s first national DC supporting distribution for all of its brands of casters and wheels.

“Our goal is to enhance our customers’ experience through faster and more reliable fulfillment, dependable inventory planning, and the ability to consolidate shipments from our various brands,” said Kevin Osborn, VP of Operations at Colson Group USA. “The DC will provide the necessary operational alignment to make this possible.”

Creation of the national DC allows Colson Group to setup a facility optimized solely for the distribution and common assembly of its broad product offering – functions currently supported within its individual manufacturing plants. This shift in distribution responsibilities will allow the manufacturing plants to further enhance their operational and service responsibilities, thus better supporting the group’s growing mix of USA-made products, customer-direct production orders, and regular supply to the DC.

The rollout of the new DC is led by Kevin Osborn, Colson Group USA’s VP of Operations. Kevin has been with Colson since 2008, where he has managed the operations for both the highly efficient and automated Jonesboro, AR and Monette, AR facilities. Kevin and his teams have carefully planned and reviewed all steps to ensure the DC infrastructure, technology, data structure, and inventory transitions are strategically staged and executed to mitigate service disruptions and create a truly world-class caster distribution center.

DC KEY UPDATES AND FEATURES:

  • New ERP and data structure created specifically for DC to support advanced transacting and processing; this includes barcoding for every part number
  • Automatic data collection for real time ERP transactions and visibility for customer service representatives – thus eliminating paper transactions that later have to be keyed, and further improving inventory accuracy
  • Narrow-aisle racking installation is nearing completion
  • Hardware and shipment processing equipment now in-place
  • Wire-guided turret trucks in-place, equipped with ruggedized tablet PCs and scanners for efficient and safe picking
  • Experienced leadership for the DC assembly and distribution functions established; various employees relocated from Newnan facility
  • Assembly cells now underway; to be complete late this December

The DC will be officially opening in January, and Kevin and his teams will strategically phase in supporting inventory over the following months. Watch for additional updates and details on the DC development in the weeks to come.

December 10, 2015

Heavy-Duty Caster Manufacturing

After a series of recent manufacturing investments – including a new laser, CNC machining centers and forming equipment, and multiple robotic welding cells – Colson Group USA announced plans to rapidly advance the company’s heavy-duty (HD) caster manufacturing within its two Michigan manufacturing plants throughout 2016.

The plans include more USA-made product lines with greater warranties (starting with laser cut Albion 310 & 410 kingpinless casters), innovative new designs and accessory options, and advanced processes for greater speed in custom HD development. As an important element of these plans, the company is leveraging the strengths and infrastructure at both its Michigan manufacturing plants to best support the initiatives and grow both the standard and custom sides of its HD business.

“The Albion, MI manufacturing plant will continue to advance its heavy-duty focus under the leadership of Brad Bell and his experienced team,” said Kevin Osborn, VP of Operations. “They will be working closely with the St. Joseph, MI plant to advance HD production, and will also be receiving the heavy-duty responsibilities from our Newnan, GA facility to better align HD production and leverage our new investments.”

The group’s polyurethane production is also receiving an upgrade in both equipment and capabilities, and will be transitioned to a worldclass poly environment. The transfer to one of the top precision polyurethane production facilities in the country will increase Colson Group USA’s production capabilities, enhance production control, and offer more advanced material options – including more resilient and high-temperature resins.

As a final step, the Albion, MI plant will be brought onto Colson Group USA’s new ERP system to complete the company’s goal of a unified ERP system across all of its facilities. This accomplishment allows Colson Group USA to unlock further service capabilities and process improvements for its customers across all of its facilities.

“We have a strong commitment to advancing our heavy-duty products and service,” said Brian Denisty, Heavy-Duty Product Manager at Colson Group USA. “Our planning and recent investments provide the necessary foundation to deliver this commitment to our customers, and I am excited to begin the rollout starting with the new laser cut 310/410 Series made right here in Michigan.”

Please watch for further HD product and service announcements taking place over the next few weeks.