Executives of JCB and local officials broke ground Nov. 30 for the JCB Customer Support Center, a 200,000-sq.-ft. service and support center for the company’s North American operations in Savannah, Ga.
Additionally, JCB appointed a new vice president of customer support, Mike Werner.
Werner has more than 30 years of experience in the construction equipment industry. He began his career with a 12-year stint at International Harvester. Five of those years were spent with a dealer in the Chicago area and seven as the global technical training instructor and product support manager.
In 1986 Werner left International Harvester to join JCB as the North American service manager. In this role he was responsible for quality control as well as field and technical service operations for the company.
Werner then moved to Volvo where he served as a regional vice president. He has returned to JCB to spearhead the construction of the new center and head customer support operations in North America.
“Returning to JCB was like coming home and reuniting with family,” he said. “It is an extraordinary company and it was an easy transition. I saw the return as a tremendous opportunity to be a part of something very significant at JCB. The company is positioned for growth in this market and the new center marks an important step in that growth process.”
The JCB Customer Support Center will resemble a smaller version of the JCB North American headquarters, with its familiar green façade.
Since JCB is widely credited with building the world’s first backhoe, six dignitaries including John Patterson, CEO of JCB Worldwide, and Graeme MacDonald, JCB Inc. president, broke ground simultaneously with backhoe loaders. In total, six backhoes were used at the event, all of which were manufactured at the Savannah facility.
“This is a very significant day for JCB and its North American Operations,” Patterson said. “The JCB Customer Support Center will serve as a global distribution center for North America, South America and the Pacific Rim. But, at the same time, it will stand as visible proof of our commitment to customer support, particularly for our North American customers.”
While the World Parts Center at JCB’s world headquarters in the United Kingdom is the main distribution center for JCB parts, the JCB Customer Support Center will serve as the distribution point for parts sourced in America.
“Completion of the JCB Customer Support Center will enable us to improve the level of service we offer to our North American dealer network and also position us for significant market growth when the economic climate improves,” MacDonald said. “Locating the support center here in America makes both logistical and economic sense.”
Construction of the JCB Customer Support Center should be complete by the fourth quarter of next year. When the new building opens, it will free up about 80,000 sq. ft. of space in the manufacturing facility that will be used to increase the plant’s manufacturing capacity.
“The new facility will allow us to free up some much needed space to accommodate the increased production at this facility,” Werner said. “It will also allow us to stock significantly more inventory. Building a brand new center has given us the opportunity to install state-of-the-art operational software to maximize our efficiency. This center is not merely a new building, it’s a new world,” Werner said.