What’s involved in building an Ironhorse motorcycle trailer? Clearly it takes a frame and several fiberglass parts as well as the hardware and electrical parts necessary to assemble the final product.
When we started building motorcycle trailers in 2002, both our frames and fiberglass were produced by outside suppliers. That sounds okay on the surface, but there were several things wrong with that approach.
Our original building was so small that keeping much inventory of frames and sets of fiberglass parts was impractical. Instead we relied on our suppliers to produce and deliver at the same rate we used the parts.
But it seemed like we were out of either frames or fiberglass parts more often than not. And without both, we couldn’t build trailers. Since no amount of jawboning did any good and we were tied into a five year lease, we struggled with that situation until 2008.
When we moved into our current facility in 2008, we quickly started making our own frames but continued to truck fiberglass parts in from the same supplier—a distance of 100 miles. Making our own frames helped but we could still only assemble in fits and starts as our fiberglass supplier just didn’t get regular.
So we spent much of 2008 and 2009 building molds for a new model and learning to fabricate fiberglass parts. By the time we introduced the Widebody in 2009, we had strong enough fiberglass skills to build all the parts for it in-house. That smoothed out our output a little more, but one and two bike motorcycle trailer assembly was still as erratic as ever.
By Thanksgiving of 2010, the handwriting was on the wall. We were never gonna get where we wanted to be without bringing the remaining fiberglass production in-house. So we bit the bullet and started producing ALL our fiberglass parts.
Start-up was interesting to say the least, but now when we don’t have frames or fiberglass parts to assemble motorcycle trailers, it’s because WE didn’t make them. If there’s a blemish on the fiberglass or a bad weld, it’s because WE did it. Gratifyingly enough, neither happens nearly as often now that the buck stops here.