All ProdecoTech electric bikes are assembled at this new facility. The frames and parts mainly come from China or Taiwan, but the assembly, fine tuning, boxing, and shipping happens at the ProdecoTech facility near Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA.
ProdecoTech currently employs 40+ people at the facility with plans to hire many more.
Assembly in the USA is very unique in the bicycle industry for a company of this size, let alone unique for a lot of physical product industries.
I visited ProdecoTech late last year and I had a chance to tour their old facility that was spread out among 3 different buildings.
My visit to this new facility represented a night and day difference between the old and new facility. This new facility is a very significant upgrade for this fast growing and quickly evolving US electric bike company. It is well thought out, very organized, clean, bright, and modern.
This is just part of the e-bike assembly area but it will give you an idea of how new and modern the ProdecoTech facility is.
Robert Provost (CEO), Daniel Del Aguila (co-owner), and Jim Aversa (co-owner) are the heads of state at ProdecoTech. They have a vision of ProdecoTech becoming one of the top electric bike brands in the US and potentially beyond. Here is a little more about them and the Prodeco story.
Robert Provost believes that with this new facility and the additional work force that they will be bringing on soon, they will soon catch up with the high demand they have from their dealers. The plan is to catch up with the demand and then create a certain level of inventory so that they can quickly ship bikes to dealers. Supply of the bikes to dealers in the past has been an issue for ProdecoTech but with this new facility and workforce they hope to eliminate that issue.
This new facility will be close to assembling 64 bikes per day within the next month or so, then 128 bikes by sometime next year, and the goal of 192 bikes per day is planned for late 2014. That’s a lot of e-bikes!
In addition, the building that ProdecoTech is in has significant room for expansion of the assembly and warehouse areas when they need it.
So with that, let me give you a virtual tour of what the new ProdecoTech assembly facility is like.
First of all, this a video tour of the new facility with Robert Provost and a number of ProdecoTech employees.
Patricia welcomes visitors with her warm smile at the main entrance to the new facility. A few of the ProdecoTech electric bikes are on display for visitors to checkout.
And this is the entrance to the main assembly area. The flag of the United States of America is proudly displayed to remind everyone what a unique business ProdecoTech is.
This is the wheel assembly area. ProdecoTech uses Holland wheel building machines to build the wheels “in house”. They will be adding another machine soon to increase the wheel building production.
The wheels are laced up at the first stage of the wheel building process. It is impressive to see the machine in action!
Then the wheel is sent to the tensioner/truing machine via the rail system shown.
This is the wheel tensioner/truing machine where a wheel truly becomes a wheel. As you can see, this is a very sophisticated piece of machinery.
The wheels go through a hand quality check process after they have been through the machines.
After the wheels are assembled they have tires, tubes, cogs, and disc brakes rotors installed. They are then placed on racks; ready for installation on a bike.
Similar to the wheel building, there is a sub assembly station for the handlebar/stem components. This is a rack of handlebar/stem sets ready for installation on bikes.
This is the assembly of the chainrings on cranks in preparation for installation on bikes.
A line of Phantom O frames and forks in the work stands. At this point, the sub assemblies (wheels, handlebars, etc.) are added to the frames to make it a complete e-bike.
Here is a line of Outlaw SE’s in the process of being assembled into full fledged e-bikes.
After the bikes have been assembled they go to a quality check and adjustment line. Each bike is doubled checked in preparation for delivery to the customer.
Once the bikes are double checked, they go to the boxing area. A lot of protective packaging is added to the bikes before they are fully boxed.
ProdecoTech takes proper labeling of their electric bikes seriously and they work closely with their shippers to make sure everyone is aware that the bikes have lithium batteries.
That’s a wrap! The shipping area gets the bikes ready for delivery to the ProdecoTech dealers.
ProdecoTech stocks over 3 million parts in their on site warehouse for bike assembly in addition to having a healthy stock of parts for any warranty issues.
ProdecoTech believes in doing as much as they can in the US. One of their very significant business partners is SRAM. SRAM is a US company (parts are made in China and Taiwan) and they have have selected ProdecoTech to be their battery service center for their E-Matic e-bike kit. SRAM has sent their technical team to ProdecoTech to provide training on SRAM products.
With all of the improvements with the new facility, ProdecoTech decided it was time to improve their software system to provide better customer and dealer support. Carlos Duboc, who used to work for Microsoft, is now head of IT and he is really making things happen.
The new software system at ProdecoTech has been set up to track each bike with a “birth certificate” system. Each bike is given a master serial number which also has the frame, motor, and battery serial numbers associated with it. As the bike goes through the different stages of assembly, quality check, packaging, and shipping, it is tracked and recorded on the master serial number. Once a customer buys and registers a ProdecoTech bike their contact information will be associated with the records of that bike.
Carlos Duboc shows off the new ProdecoTech master serial number e-bike tracking system.
The large database of all of the bikes is being created so that information about a specific bike can be accessed in minutes or seconds when a customer or dealer calls ProdecoTech with a question. Dealers will have a certain level of access to this database via a ProdecoTech website. Dealers will also have access to information on when their orders will be delivered.
Speaking of technology, the warranty/service department is now using web cameras to show dealers and/or customers how to fix and adjust parts on their bikes. According to Louis in the service department, the web cameras have greatly improved helping dealers and customers fix their bikes quickly.
This is the warranty service department at ProdecoTech.
ProdecoTech believes in treating their employees right. They provide incentives for high quality work that exceeds production expectations. Employees at ProdecoTech are treated to a free breakfast every day and a free lunch once a month. Health insurance is part of their compensation. Since ProdecoTech is growing quickly, there are a lot of opportunities for employees to earn promotions by proving they are hard working and responsible leaders.
The new facility has a large employee break area that includes 3 computers that employees can use to check email and/or surf the web.
Employees have lockers for storing their personal items.
Quite a few employees ride their ProdecoTech e-bikes to work. Bikes are offered to employees at a significant discount. In the future there are plans to put in an e-bike sharing program at the ProdecoTech facility.
Here is a custom Outlaw SE decked out with some whitewall tires. Classy!
ProdecoTech is working with a Broward County program called Workforce 1. Through the program, unemployed workers are offered the opportunity to become an electric bike assembly technician and get a certificate of completion. After completion of the training some of the technicians are hired to work for ProdecoTech. Technicians that complete the course can also apply for jobs at local bike shops if they choose.
I had a chance to meet a number of people who work for ProdecoTech and they all appear to be proud to be working for a company that is an electric bike company assembling the bikes in the Fort Lauderdale area. There is definitely a lot of camaraderie among the folks at at ProdecoTech and they also like to have fun giving each other a hard time!
Overall it was great to visit the ProdecoTech facility and see electric bikes being assembled in the USA. There is a great group of people who work at ProdecoTech and they all seem to take pride in what they are doing. The new assembly facility is very impressive and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for this innovative company.
Stay tuned! While I was touring the new ProdecoTech facility I had a chance to checkout some of the new prototype bikes that will become production bikes for 2014.
Here are a few teaser pictures of some of the new e-bikes:
This is the prototype Phantom X3.
And a prototype of the Oasis beach cruiser e-bike.
More info on the new ProdecoTech bikes soon in an upcoming post!
Bonus! Since I was in the Fort Lauderdale area, I wanted to visit one of the local electric bikes stores. It fact, I visited The Electric Bicycle Store! Mark and Scott are the owners and they have operated 2 of their electric bike stores: one in Fort Lauderdale and and one in the South Beach Miami area for the past 5+ years.
They are definitely experienced in the e-bike industry and they continue to bring a wide variety of e-bike brands (including ProdecoTech) to the people of south Florida. The Electric Bicycle Store has a cool display of some classic e-bikes as well as different types of motors and batteries so that customers can see the different e-bike components.