Supply Chain Bottlenecks Drive Factory Decisions at This Maker of Boats, Motorcycles, ATVs
Like other manufacturers struggling with wobbly supply chains, sports-vehicle maker Polaris Inc. is deciding what to produce based on what parts it has on hand.
Polaris is changing its manufacturing and sales strategies on the fly to cope with shortages of materials and parts and an unreliable global transportation system that has disrupted precise production planning.
The company said it is juggling 30 or so supply-chain constraints for its all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats and off-road utility vehicles. Polaris changes its plans sometimes daily for what it produces. The company switches models for a while as supply-and-logistics managers scrounge for parts and materials for other models it is unable to build.
When there aren’t enough seats in the supply pipeline to produce four-seat versions of utility terrain vehicles because of a shortage of foam padding, for example, Polaris shifts production to two-seat or three-seat models. When more seats become available, factories circle back to four-seat models or add the missing seats to vehicles that have already been assembled.
“If you’re mixing and matching, eventually you’ll attain a good product mix,” said Kenneth Pucel, operations chief for the Medina, Minn.-based company.