Last Friday I had the privilege, along with several of my classmates, of touring Vactor Manufacturing in Streator, Illinois.
It was great fun! I’ve not been in very many industrial settings, and one of the joys of the EMBA program is learning from my fellow students about how things work in other organizations and market sectors. It’s been great to learn about health care from the hospital side of the picture through classmates, and now I’ve got a little better idea how it works in large machinery manufacturing.
Here’s my classmates and me in front of the Vactor 2100 Combination Sewer cleaner at the beginning of the tour:
The machines are huge! And almost every part of these huge trucks in manufactured on the 230,000 square foot factory site.
Doug and Ben (the classmates who work at Vactor) started the tour with a brief corporate overview and a few videos of the equipment at work, including a clip of a Vactor truck in the movie Men in Black III. We then walked through the entire factory, where everyone was polite and helpful, and we got to see almost every stage of the production of these gigantic trucks that are used to clean out sewers. (Ben says they’re #1 in the #2 business).
Vactor has a great culture, and Ben and Doug both love working there. The precision and care they take in building their trucks is first-rate, and they are the industry leader in what they provide both in sales and quality. The intricacies of their quality control and production stood out several times in the tour.
It was a great walk through, and I feel a ton less ignorant about how big machines are made, and I’m thankful Ben and Doug allowed us this opportunity! Here’s a couple more pics (I may post a video of one of the trucks later):