November 30, 2005--Posted at 10:27 PM CST
PARAGOULD--American Railcar Industries or A.R.I, is one of the top manufacturers in the United States of railcars. The use of railroads for shipping in the U.S. has increased 10-fold over the last four years because it is cheaper than conventional shipping by truck. More shipping on the rails means more demand for the cars that carry the load.
A.R.I makes 6,000 railcars every year. But they have been lacking one thing and they knew it. They needed to find away to speed up the painting process of these behemoth pieces of metal.
And that is why they built a $13-million dollar painting facility.
Jon Meyer, project manager for A.R.I., said, "Building this plant will allow us to be self sufficient. We can now paint everything that we produce here."
Before, A.R.I. would manufacture the car at the Paragould plant, but would have to ship the car elsewhere to be painted and finished. Now the plant can do it all.
"We get input from the employees here as to how to make the process better and more efficient. So there is a lot of thought that went into it," Meyer said.
Efficiency is the key word for this plant and it employees.
Mike Perry, paint plant manager, said, "It gives the customer a much better job and it makes us more efficient in being able to do what we do with the number of people we have efficiently."
Meyer said, "The process, from a production standpoint, is very similar to the competition. We just feel that new equipment and the work ethic in Arkansas we have a real advantage."