Morris Material Handling’s encore tells of new worldwide growth. By Eric C. Peterson
So, what’s new with Morris Material Handling since our last visit in December 1988 to the Oak Creek, Wis., maker of hoists and cranes Plenty.
When British Aerospace needed a solution for moving Boeing aircraft wings around its 80,000-square-foot open-span facility at Scotland’s Prestwick Airport facility, Morris’ U.K. operation had the answer in the form of a 230-foot-span lattice girder crane running on new self-supporting gantries. Twin 3.2-ton electronic hoists ensure positioning of the crane on its tracks.
Morris is surely a major global player (the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, South America and the Middle and Far East) in the hoist and crane business, having installed a worldwide sales team for engineered cranes to market its international production capabilities. “We brought together some of our most experienced guys because of the unique challenges these projects bring,” explains Mike Maddock, vice president for Europe.
The company delivers a wide variety of products, such as quay cranes in Vancouver, British Columbia; steel works cranes in the United States; power station cranes in Vietnam; and aluminum manufacturing in South Africa. Indeed, Morris made more news in 1999, when it opened a representative office in Beijing, China, staffed by Chinese engineers trained at its Loughborough operation in the United Kingdom. The company also introduced its all-new electric chain hoists, ranging from 125 kilograms to 5,000 kilograms, to the U.K. market. Morris also has expanded its business activities in such nations as India and Vietnam.
As outlined in our earlier visit to Morris Material Handling, the company was once known as the P&H Material Handling division of Harnischfeger Industries. After a divestiture in March 1998 and an agreement to retain certain trademark rights, the new and improved Morris Material Handling, Inc. emerged under private ownership. Morris had been the name of a U.K. company Harnischfeger had acquired five years ago. Well known in much of the world, the name was retained for the maker of cranes and hoists under the P&H trademark.
“We offer complete turnkey project solutions for material handling needs,” explains vice president Peter A. Kerrick. “Because cranes and hoists are essential tools in the production process for a variety of industries and applications, performance must be reliable at all times.”
P&H and Morris cranes are built to meet specified performance requirements. Product categories include standard industrial, engineered and specialty cranes and hoists, components and application solutions. The company serves a variety of industries, including automotive (press rooms and foundries); steel mills (scrap handling, hot metal and charging cranes and billet handling); steel service centers (magnetic service, coil handling and stacker cranes); refuse handling; container handling (ship-to-shore, intermodal, etc.); power plants; cement mills; nonferrous metals, refining and forest products.
In the process, P&H and Morris products and components support a long list of product brands, including Heede, Milwaukee, Philadelphia Tramrail, Davy Morris, British Monorail, Herbert Morris, Vaughan, Craven, Royce, and Butters, to name a few.
“Our various product and service divisions comple-ment each other to support our commitment to providing life-cycle care of our products,” Kerrick explains. “Life-cycle care is a direct result of our customers’ need to improve overall efficiency, uptime and performance of their equipment and lower overall operating costs.
“Our full-service approach means our customers can focus on meeting their customers’ needs,” he adds.The company’s products are made at production facilities all over the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Australia. The Oak Creek (Milwaukee) operation is the company’s ISO 9001-registered center of excellence for the design of P&H severe-duty and special-process overhead cranes and for the manufacture of crane components and replacement parts. It is currently working on projects with local partners in Chile, Colombia, Canada and the United States.
“Our Milwaukee operation also designs and manufactures the P&H Hevi-Lift hoist and standard crane kits,” Kerrick adds.Altogether, Oak Creek operations support a work force of much more than 350 employees and a total facility space of more than 300,000 square feet.
Most Modern Factory
The 30,000-square-meter Morris facility in Loughborough, England, meanwhile, is one of the largest and most modern hoist factories in Europe. The ISO 9001 plant is the center of excellence for Morris custom-engineered and standard EOT cranes, automated storage/retrieval systems and electric wire rope and chain hoists.
Crane and hoist modernization is another key com-ponent of what Morris does. “Besides improving productivity, modernization is an efficient and economical way to stretch service life and squeeze downtime and maintenance costs,” Kerrick points out. “We can apply current technology to equip an existing crane for new applications, higher production and for OSHA and other worldwide safety requirements.”
In the modernization category, services include everything from increasing load capacity and speeds, to replacing motor controls with the latest adjustable frequency controls. Modifications can be made to improve duty cycle performance and reduce maintenance, and cranes can be adapted for special lifting grabs and magnets.
On the engineering side, “our engineers undertake structural analysis, including damage assessment, failure analysis and repair cost studies,” says Kerrick. “Our other services include crane span changes, safety evaluation, productivity studies, and preventive maintenance analysis and automation studies.
It goes without saying that customer service is a big part of the Morris equation. Along those lines, the company provides its customers with the Emergency Expediting VIP Program, designed to handle breakdown situations in which customers need help immediately. “This program expedites every step of the manufacturing and shipping processes,” Kerrick explains.
Assistance for customers is also available around the clock, 365 days a year.Customer service also includes technical advice. “Our personnel are available to help with any problems or situations that arise,” says Kerrick. “Our engineers are continually solving the most complex problems with fresh thinking and high-tech equipment designs.”
The company also offers a variety of parts-stocking programs through its worldwide distribution centers. By stocking parts, customers can lower their replacement and downtime costs, enjoy added security against downtime and increase productivity. When Morris Material Handling emerged from the complicated divestiture process outlined earlier, Kerrick noted that “our new company’s business strategy calls for providing greater uptime and enhanced productivity to an expanding industrial base.”
“By not limiting ourselves to niche markets, we can minimize the economic consequences that come when companies focus all of their attention on one regional market, one industry segment or one product focus,” he continues. And as Morris, which has sales of more than $300 million per year, has continued to expand both its product line and its worldwide geographic reach, that strategy remains its driving force for the new millennium.