Transitions

January 1, 2016 will be a big day in the history of Stellar Industries, Inc. On that day, we will officially christen the former Kiefer Manufacturing facility in Kanawha as Stellar Industries – Kanawha. Not only will we be adding a great factory to produce our Stellar-branded products, but we will be welcoming a large number of former Kiefer employees to join the Stellar Industries, Inc. team.

Stellar Industries, Inc. finalized our purchase of the assets of the former Kiefer Built, LLC in March of 2011. Over the nearly five years of Stellar ownership, many changes were implemented at the Kiefer facilities in both Kanawha and in Sneedville, TN. Unfortunately, the substantial investments in new production equipment, designs, and people could not save the legendary Kiefer line of trailers. In the last year, it became evident that success in the design and building of cranes, hooklifts, and service bodies does not automatically translate into success in the trailer industry. The decision was made to close the Sneedville facility and exit the horse and livestock trailer business.

But that is not the end of this story. In Sneedville, Kiefer is an important employer. With the help of the Hancock County Mayor, Thomas Harrison, and a successful local businessman, David Greene, a proposal was made to Stellar to purchase the assets of the discontinued horse and livestock trailer lines and assume the factory in Sneedville. We will close on the sale of these assets to the Greene family on 12/31/2015.

Kiefer Built was founded by an entrepreneur, Arden Kiefer, in the early 1970s. Under Arden’s daily presence and stewardship, his company grew quickly and flourished. His untimely death in the 1990s lead to the company changing ownership numerous times over the next 20 years. With the purchase of the horse and livestock lines by the Greene family, ownership is getting back into the hands of a true entrepreneur that will be able to devote full attention to rebuilding the storied Kiefer trailer name. All of us at Stellar Industries, Inc. wish our former co-workers in Sneedville and the Greene family many successes as they take control of the Kiefer line of trailers.

Product Spotlight – Stellar® TC Series of Cranes

The Stellar® TC Series of cranes offer a combination of European compact design and refinement with American control sensibilities. The TC Series is a tall mast telescopic crane commonly referred to as a “T-Boom” crane. The design offers ultimate compactness to take up minimal bed space, yet offers up to 18.6 feet of hydraulic reach to maximize the load radius of the larger models.

While these cranes are historically operated with a manual control valve requiring the operator to be near or under a suspended load, Stellar has Americanized these cranes through the use of the proprietary Stellar® CDT™ crane control system. Being a “Stellar® CDT™ Equipped” crane means the crane will have a handheld proportional radio remote transmitter with percentage of load feedback to the operator as a standard feature. With the use of the Stellar® CDT™ crane control system, the operator is able to better position themselves around the load and their work area. This means the operator has the ability to be in the best position they deem necessary to get their job done.

The Stellar® TC Series Cranes are normally powered by a PTO and pump located on the truck chassis. Stellar does offer an optional 12V power unit with integral hydraulic reservoir as an option.

Stellar also offers suggested mounting designs for flatbed installations, as well as integral base systems to mount in the front of a truck body. Please consult with your Stellar distributor on which system is right for you.

To view the Stellar® TC Series Cranes click here

Keeping Up With Technology

Is technology ever going to stop with its rapid growth? Technology seems to always keep changing and evolving. We at Stellar are constantly trying to stay on top of, or ahead of, the trends by continually changing our technology within our company to meet the needs of our customers. One of the ways we’re growing our company with technology is by improvements to our secure distributor website.

We’ve recently rebuilt our secure distributor site from the ground up with some of the latest and greatest web framework. With this framework we were able to build it mobile friendly, and most importantly user friendly. Our distributor site is a major sales and marketing tool that we rely on to help keep our distributors up-to-date with the latest information they need to sell our products. We’re finding that by implementing a few new features into our distributor site, we’re making it easy for our distributors to stay in contact with us, find the most up to date product and customer service information about our service trucks, cranes, tire service trucks, hooklifts, cable hoists and container carriers.

So as technology continues to change, we will too in order to get to the level of excellence we continually expect ourselves to achieve.  And to do so we’ll need to continue to take strides with technology as it continues to evolve.

I Make America

Are you a Stellar Employee? Distributor? Customer? Do you know someone that works in a manufacturing job in the US? Most of you are going to answer yes to one of those questions – so read on and then join me at the end.

Several years ago one of the major associations we belong to, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers – or AEM, started a grassroots advocacy campaign called “I Make America”. The goal of the campaign is for US manufacturers to make some noise in Washington DC and advocate for pro-manufacturing policies to increase and sustain jobs and prosperity for America’s equipment manufacturers, such as ourselves. Through the I Make America campaign, the AEM encourages participating member companies, their employees and customers, to support the manufacturing industry, get involved, and take action on domestic policy issues that matter most to us and our communities.

We quickly climbed on board with the campaign. Since the inception of the campaign, Stellar has worked diligently throughout the years getting employees, vendors and customers to pledge their support by signing up for the campaign on the www.imakeamerica.com website. We’ve written numerous letters to our representatives, we’ve hosted the representatives, the governor and lt. governor, and we’ve hosted several presidential candidates. Our efforts and our participation is a sign to our elected representatives that we want them to listen to us and to take action on the items that support pro-manufacturing policies in the US – such as the Highway Bill. We want Washington to create business conditions that will help grow our economy, increase and sustain US manufacturing jobs by encouraging infrastructure investment, protect the US farming and manufacturing industries, increase our American exports, and help the US keep pace with other global manufacturing companies and producers.

So today, as in days past, I stand up again and declare “I Make America!” How about you? Do YOU make America? I think you do – Help us make some noise in Washington. It costs you nothing more than a few minutes of your time to sign up to show your support, and the rewards can be priceless. Join Stellar and the AEM at www.IMakeAmerica.com or follow them on Twitter and Facebook @IMakeAmerica – let’s make some noise!

ICUEE 2015 – In the Books

The ICUEE (International Construction & Utility Equipment Expo) – also known as the Demo Expo – has come to a close for 2015. While we went into the week expecting sunny and 80 degrees, Mother Nature decided to change her mind on us. In true ICUEE fashion, we endured a day and a half of rain, cool temperatures, and a brisk breeze. It seems it wouldn’t be an ICUEE show without all the extreme weather conditions rolled into those three days.

Stellar had a nice presence at the show this year. Our booth was located in the outdoor “N” lot, in front of the convention center. We displayed our popular TMAX™1 service body and the Stellar® 7621 crane equipped with an E-Link Touch system and the Stellar® CDTplus™ crane control system, and we had the X-Tra-Lift in the booth as well. Booth visitors had the opportunity to see the X-Tra-Lift run up and into the truck and out again, or they could see first hand how the Stellar® Crane operated and get a first-hand look at the real-time load information displayed on the LCD screen on the remote handle. As you wondered the aisles of the show with your umbrella, you were sure to not get far without seeing a Stellar crane in various other booths as well. Some of our distribution, partners and end users had a Stellar crane on display in their booths. It is always fun to see that we’ve made such an impact on and created such a strong presence in this market.

So despite the inclement weather, we managed to collect a solid array of leads that we will be following up on in the next few weeks. We also had the opportunity to meet with several of our current end users and distributors for feedback and great discussions.

A little about the ICUEE Demo Expo – it is the largest event in North America for the utilities and utility contractors seeking new equipment and new technologies for their businesses. It takes place every other year, in Louisville, Ky at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. There are over 25 acres of exhibit space, indoor and outdoor, and over 850 exhibitors consuming that space. A majority of the booths have demonstrations and hands-on opportunities for the attendees. The show is owned and run by the AEM, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which Stellar is an active member. Early reports have indicated that attendance for the 2015 show was at record numbers, hosting over 18,000 attendees.

Next show on the calendar for Stellar Industries is the AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida Oct. 15-18. The X-Tra-Lift will be on display for all the motorcycle dealers and enthusiasts to check out first hand.