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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It would be cool to organize a summer trip to Kansas City to the VRod plant.
 

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Color me Gone
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I split this thread off and would really like to hear more about this idea.

As long as it starts in June or later this summer you can count me in for this road trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After June would be great for me. Might catch a Royals game why I'm there. It would be a big thrill to tour the plant.

Doug
 

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I live in the Kansas City metro and have toured the plant, definately worth seeing. I'll follow this thread I'd definately like to meet some fellow vrf'rs. If you've never been to Kauffman (Royal's) stadium you're in for a treat it is still one of the most beautiful even 30+ years later.
 

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Color me Gone
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justinh would it be possible to get tour information from you. I would like operating ours, holiday schedules and days of the week and times that the tour takes place.

Max
 

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I guess that AKvrod answered your question. On schedules. The plant is kind of out of the way from any of the "sights" in KC so you'll probably want to stay at a hotel in a different area. If you have not been to KC before I'd recommend something on the Country Club Plaza. It's a very high end shopping district with some great restaraunts and bars.

Check out the link below for more info

http://www.visitkc.com/
 

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Nothing but Chrome
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Just Off I435 East, mid way through Kansas City are several really nice casino Hotels. Good parking, good food, good fun and close to "Worlds of Fun" amusement park. Also, not sure of date, but I know a friend that is going to cycle rally and poker run in KC this summer, maybe it could all be put together at same time. I would ride down from Lincoln,NE

Mike
 

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Color me Gone
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Thanks for the link AKvrod.

Max
 

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If You Ain't Cav...
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I'm moving to Ft Leavenworth , KS this summer, but my military school (CGSC) doesn't start until August! Will most likely show up in July though! I'd definitely be game!

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looks like I started something here Max....Maybe we need to coordinate rally points for those to hook up and travel into KC...Maybe Harley shops? Let me know what needs to be done and I'll do it. I'm kinda getting excited about this. I think it would be awsome to cruise I-70 with a bunch of V-Rods
 

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My wife and I are hoping to tour the KC plant on Jan. 16th enroute to Oklahoma City for a family wedding. I have called ahead to make sure they aren't in some sort of production switchover that cancels the tours. It takes quite a while to get through all the information you have to listen to on the phone to finally talk with someone. I found out that the end of year 'down time' will be over by Jan. 5th, so tours are back on after that.

I found out everything I needed to know about the two of us taking the tour by calling them but if there is any additional info this group needs, I'll be happy to ask or check it out in person while we are there next month. They do want groups to call ahead and schedule tours.

I am REALLY looking forward to watching V-Rods being built!

:biker:
 

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jlbait said:
Are you racing that weekend?
Yep! CCS will be at Heartland Park that weekend. If we make it, I'll be competing in the GTO "mini-endurance" race on Saturday and the SuperTwins and Heavyweight SuperSport sprint races on Sunday.

It's all contingent on putting away enough "kimbydollars" between now and then.
 

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Color me Gone
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Tour Information

This was sent to me from Steve Wiltsie, thanks Steve.

KC and the Factory Tour
Submitted by Steve Wiltsie

Visualize a football field. Now put a roof on it, surround it by 7 more just like it, put walls around the outside, and fill it with almost 1000 people who build motorcycles for a living. As a finishing touch, make sure every employee has great benefits, a very good working environment, input on production methods and goals, and is really committed to quality. What you will end up with is something that is so unique that business school classes come to study it and so interesting that people go out of their way to take a tour of the facility - it is even listed on the interstate highway on the ‘Attractions’ sign. What you have is Harley-Davidson’s Kansas City manufacturing facility.

On a trip to Oklahoma City for a family wedding, my wife Jane Ann and I went by way of Kansas City, MO to see where our ’03 V-Rod was made. This was my first trip to any H-D plant and it was certainly a worthwhile detour. (Yes, I know the normal route from Evansville, IN to Oklahoma City is not through Kansas City.) The Kansas City plant produces the V-Rod from beginning to end and also does the final assembly on the Dyna and Sportster lines.

The tour takes about an hour and starts in the Tour Center. There the friendly staff has you sign in, checks a photo ID, and provides a locker for you to leave any jackets, cameras (no photos allowed in the plant), purses, knives, etc. Then your group (there were only 4 in our group) is moved into a room set up as a theater to view a short video about H-D history and the Kansas City plant. After that you get safety glasses and headphone radios so you can easily hear your tour guide - even in the production areas.

Our tour guide, Cathy, did a great job and really seemed to know all aspects of the plant. She knew most of the employees we saw by name and they all seemed to know her as well. One of the four on our tour was a recently hired employee. He works 3rd shift on the XL line and was there taking his mother on the tour. OK, now think about that…. How many who work in a manufacturing plant would want to take their mother on a tour of it? This is that kind of place. It is almost like a big family. Several workers we saw smiled and said, “Thanks for coming”.

To keep everyone happy, motivated, and well trained, the employees are set up in teams. Each team has a special area of the plant they call home. Each person rotated to another position in the team’s area every two hours. This helps to eliminate boredom, insures cross training, and reduces the possibility of repetitive motion injuries. In the polishing area where steel body parts are polished before painting (think about that for a minute) the team members do rotate but most of the jobs still require upper body motion. So they have a professional massage therapist that comes in once a week to give each team member an upper body massage to help relieve the stress. Each team has a Safety Specialist and Quality Specialist who have received special training. The two employees keep these positions for about 6 to 8 months and then two other team members are trained and take over the positions.

I mentioned quality earlier, how about this: in the sheet metal stamping area fenders are randomly pulled from production during the shifts to check for meeting specifications. They are electronically measured to within such small tolerances that our tour guide compared it to the width of a hair on a housefly! If one is found to be out of spec, it is accompanied by Security to an area where it is flattened before being put into the recycle bin. This points out two things: 1) H-D is very concerned about out of spec parts being kept off of the bikes and out of the replacement part pipeline; and 2) they are very big in recycling everything that can be recycled. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t use recycled materials in the bikes, they just don’t want waste materials that can be recycled.

We saw the machine that tightens the 40 spokes in the laced wheels to exact specs. It works on 4 sides of the wheel at the same time to provide uniform tension and roundness. Of course, after each wheel is made it is checked by a person for roundness using a precision tool.

We learned about the paint shop area and the people who work there. This is a ‘clean room’ environment. The employees in that area agree to only use soaps and shampoos from an approved list, they must not eat certain foods within a specified time before their shift, they wear hospital ‘scrubs’ on the job, and must go through an ‘air shower’ before entering the paint room. H-D is very serious about the paint quality on their products and these rules are all designed to help insure that quality.

We made a stop in Hog Heaven, the plant’s lunchroom. In there is also a bleacher area where all employees attend a ‘town hall meeting’ once a month to learn about new plans and to ask questions. There also we saw a roped off area with 4 motorcycles inside. We learned that these were randomly picked by Quality Control, ridden for 25 miles, and placed there so each employee could see the final QC check lists and what, if anything, was found wrong. All finished bikes go through a final inspection that includes riding at 60 - 65 MPH for one mile on a device inside the building and careful visual inspection.

Cathy told us about a recent time when the plant was able to meet almost unrealistic production goals from corporate headquarters. The reward was a surprise lobster and filet mignon dinner for all employees. The live lobsters were flown in from Maine and steamed on-site. Other benefits include discounts on all H-D merchandise in the ‘company store’ and on motorcycles.

We also learned about the two unions that represent all the employees. They work together so closely with each other and management that the two union presidents have office on each side of the plant manager. The employees don’t even know which union they will be assigned to when they are hired - and it really doesn’t matter.

The tour ends in the Tour Center, which also includes displays and a gift shop. There you can find H-D merchandise with the Kansas City Vehicle Operations logo on it. T-shirts, sweatshirts, can covers, pins, etc. are all available.

I’ll finish by saying that while this was a very interesting tour, getting to Kansas City, MO from Evansville is a long trip. It took us about 7 hours including a gas stop and a couple of other stops. Since the plant is located close to the airport, there are lots of good hotels and motels close by. We stayed in the Hampton Inn - Airport and liked it. They provide fruit, fresh baked cookies, and coffee at night and a typical Hampton Inn breakfast in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nice....I'm looking forward to the tour this summer
 
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