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$80 million HQ and 200 new jobs: Combilift means business

200 new jobs will be created in Monaghan, Ireland, with the announcement that innovative forklift and MHE maker Combilift is to expand its workforce. The announcement was made at the opening of the new €50 million (AUD 80m) global headquarters and manufacturing facility.
The 200 new jobs, to be created over the next three years, will be for skilled technicians, design engineers, logistics and supply chain specialists and those with mechanical and electrical mechatronics skills. Combilift currently employs 550 people for the manufacture of its forklifts and material handling products.
When the company was founded 20 years ago, it had three employees, an innovative concept, and the ambition to make it a reality. Built at a cost of AUD 80m, the new 46,500sqm global headquarters and manufacturing facility will allow Combilift to double production. Established in 1998, Combilift currently exports 98% of its products to 85 countries through its 250-strong international dealer network.
Combilift managing director Martin McVicar said the investment will enable Combilift to meet its ambitious growth plans. “We have employed an additional 230 people since we announced our plans for this factory in 2015, and we are planning to recruit an additional 200 in the next three years. The combination of this state-of-the-art production plant and a skilled workforce will allow us to double production within the next five years.”
Mass customisation
Mr McVicar attributes the company’s impressive growth to mass customisation. “Combilift has set the benchmark for the mass production of customised innovative products. Mass customisation is the new frontier for both the customer and the manufacturer. Increasingly, customers are expecting products to be tailored to meet their needs.”
Since 1998, Combilift has been manufacturing customised products tailored to suit client requirements. “The flexibility in our new facility means that Combilift can continue to accommodate any customer request for a customised material handling solution,” says McVicar “The new factory enables us to double production and remain focused on the needs of our customers and dealers.”
Growth of Combilift
Established by Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett in 1998, Combilift is a privately held and fully capitalised company. It developed the world’s first multidirectional all-wheel drive IC engine-powered forklift in 1998. In its first year of operation, Combilift produced 18 units, 17 of which were exported. The company has more than doubled in the last five years and now has 40,000 units in operation in over 85 countries.
Combilift’s product range has expanded way beyond its first multidirectional Combilift, with product development and customisation being a cornerstone of the company’s ethos, according to Mr McVicar.
New factory
The new 46,500sqm purpose–built factory is set on a 100-acre site with room for expansion. With 11 acres of roof space, it is one of the largest manufacturing operations under one single roof in Ireland.
Incorporating lean manufacturing processes with a focus on sustainability, the new factory will enable Combilift to double its output in a single shift across all production lines. Four, 90-metre moving assembly lines produce a finished truck every 15 minutes.
30% of its roof space is covered in skylights enabling staff to work in natural daylight without the assistance of artificial lighting. Lighting is provided through 1,100 LED light with individual sensors. Solar panels supply 185 kW of energy with a 1 MW biomass plant fuelled by recycled wood (pallets etc) to heat the spray booths and assembly area. 110,000 litres of rain water is harvested for use throughout the facility.
More than 50 truckloads of finished products are dispatched to 85 countries each week. Spare parts are also shipped across the world from Monaghan to the dealer network.
Certified to international quality and safety management standards, the new headquarters and manufacturing facility has been awarded ISO 9001 international quality management system, ISO 14001 Environment Management and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series.

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