Article By: Mike Copeland
Robert Martz strides through the Time Manufacturing worksite, greeting employees with a wave or word. At 6-foot-8, the former University of Notre Dame defensive lineman stands above the crowd, much like Time’s products.
The maker of aerial lifts and bucket trucks is ramping up production at 7601 Imperial Drive, hiring to launch a third shift and filling orders backlogged through next summer.
Employment stands at 600 locally, and Time Manufacturing could use another 50 people yesterday, human resources Vice President Bruce Hardt said. He said he remembers when a workforce of 350 represented a full roster in Waco. International demand from utility companies and foreign governments has grown.
Lifts and work platforms stretching hundreds of feet skyward are built, tested and shipped from multiple Time facilities straddling Imperial Drive. Martz, the vice president of manufacturing, gets an early start walking the concrete floors, checking progress, literally and figuratively gauging the work environment’s temperature. Martz is a 30-year manufacturing veteran, having turned to making things when a knee injury shortened his NFL career. Most family members live in the Midwest. But Martz’s work takes him everywhere, including Mexico and Texas.
Martz came to Time from Big Tex Trailers, a company with a global reach but headquartered in smallish Mount Pleasant in northeast Texas. Martz laughs and recalls his first week on the job there. Heavy snow interrupted what Martz believed would be a sunny welcome to the Lone Star State.
“I thought, ‘You folks lied to me,’” Martz said with a smile.
Martz’s arrival in 2017 coincided with longtime executive Jay Jeffrey’s ascension to president and chief commercial officer at Time Manufacturing. Jeffrey, as fans may remember, quarterbacked Baylor University in 1980, when the Bears won the Southwest Conference with a 10-win season. Jeffrey is a member of the Baylor University Athletic Hall of Fame.
As one might expect, Martz loves college football. With Jeffrey as a colleague, he finds tickets to Baylor games readily available. For what it’s worth, he said, he is impressed with the team under head coach Dave Aranda.
Martz’s assignment upon arrival at Time was whipping the manufacturing plant into shape. A Time information sheet says Martz has aced the exam, and then some, saying, “Manufacturing processes have since become state-of-the-art, while concurrently improving production volumes.”
The senior management team, including Martz, created a lean manufacturing system focused on what it calls “first time quality.” Versalift equipment should leave the plant with zero defects, meaning customers can use it immediately. The team tracks quality, cost, delivery, customer satisfaction and efficiency to grade the process and ensure every employee contributes to success.
New software allows Time/Versalift representatives to access customer records from one source, possibly reducing confusion and mixed signals. Another system gives managers real-time data and information about decisions made and goals set by the leadership team.