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“Our customers expect Forest City Gear always to lead the way in devising new production techniques to make better gears for them, at competitive cost and with superior service. That’s a tall order, but it’s one we welcome. Our track record speaks for itself in this area, as Forest City Gear has reinvested an average between 25% and 40% of our annual revenue for the last 30 years in the purchase of gearmaking machinery and ancillary equipment. In addition, we’ve made some major investments in green technology, over the last two years,” Young notes.
He further explained the company’s strategy in purchasing new, high-technology equipment at Forest City Gear. “We always buy high-end equipment, not only because it generally affords us higher quality, service and training from our suppliers, but also because we realize better performance, lower maintenance requirements, better trade-in value and more substantial depreciation allowances.” Fred Young also commented that one impetus for these new purchases was the company’s success in supplying many of the gears on the 2011 Mars Rover, a win achieved in part because of the previous investment in leading edge technology. “We never wait until we get an order to buy machines with enhanced capability. We already have it and have developed it, before we start exploring new opportunities. That’s a real advantage for FCG.”
With all this new equipment,” Fred Young notes, “We’ve needed substantial training from our suppliers. What we’ve enjoyed as a collateral benefit is the cross-pollination from other customers’ plants around the world. This has made us a better gear company, I’m certain.” Young also mentions that Forest City Gear frequently sells gears to its competitors, based on the advanced technology developed at his company. “We really believe in raising the bar for our entire industry. It gives us a competitive advantage, of course, but it’s also a benefit to American manufacturers, who represent our customer base and our future in business.”
Forest City Gear was founded in Rockford, IL, in 1955 by Evelyn and Stetler Young, parents of the current CEO, Fred Young. A classic family-run company, Fred operates Forest City Gear with his wife, Wendy, as well as their daughters and a son-in-law, who are all active in the business.