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StyleRide opens new manufacturing centre

On May 31 StyleRide opened its new manufacturing centre in Acacia Ridge. Already the seat manufacturer has noticed the difference in its day-to-day operations.

The daily operations of seating manufacturer StyleRide wasn’t easy for a couple of years. The Queensland-based company had to expand to a second site roughly a kilometre away from its head office. But now StyleRide has officially opened its new manufacturing centre in Acacia Ridge. 

StyleRide general manager of sales Stephen Long says the May 31 opening of the centre was a great day that surpassed the company’s expectations. 

“The whole opening went really well,” Long told ABC. “We had a really good turnout of industry members and senior leaders, as well as some travellers from Western Australia and New Zealand. 

“When we initially put the plans together we thought maybe 60 people would attend, but in the end we got around 100 people there and it turned into a fantastic day.” 

After years of operating out of two different centres, Long says the May 31 opening was a welcome relief for many at StyleRide. During COVID-19 lockdowns the seating manufacturers had the welding and fabrication side of its operations completed on one site, before projects were transferred to a second centre for finishing. 

It meant welders and fabricators didn’t get to see their hard-earned work in a finished state. To them, it simply went out the door, and it was only a concept that those seats ended up on a wide range of Australian vehicles, starting with coaches and expanding to ferries and marine vehicles.  

Long says these workers now get to see the entire evolution of StyleRide’s products every day, and it makes them happier to see the fruits of their labour.  

“It’s just become a different business already,” Long says. “For years we were operating out of two different sites and it was a different world to where we are now. 

“We’re now under one roof, there’s more of a team feel and it’s cleaner, lighter and brighter – everyone can actually see the product going the whole way through the manufacturing process.” 

RELATED ARTICLE: StyleRide Seating Systems announces new manufacturing centre

Long says the new premises allow for StyleRide to complete its 5S manufacturing principles in a way that increases efficiency. But the highlight of the new manufacturing centre is the drivethrough installation bay.  

StyleRide has used drivethrough installation areas for around 18 months, but Long says the newer centre and the updated drivethrough bays are an improvement.  

The drivethrough installation area allows StyleRide customers to drop off seats or vehicles so workers can quickly complete seat installations and refurbishments in a dedicated spot.  

“We’ve got a bus in there now where we are pulling the seats out, putting new seats in and retrimming the old seats for a client,” Long says. “All we do is pull one set of seats out and refurbish that, so when the customer brings the next bus in we put the refurbished seats back in and switch the old seats out in a rolling process.” 

Long says these drivethrough installations can take only one or two days depending on the requirements of the project. If the project is a new installation of seats and there’s nothing already on the bus, StyleRide can complete the job easily. If there’s existing seats already in the vehicle, Long says it may take an extra day or two to first remove the seats and then reinstall the latest StyleRide products. 

Previously, Long says the drivethrough installation bay at the old centre wasn’t as convenient.The bus would be in the sun, making it difficult for workers to complete the projects in the scorching Queensland heat. But now the new drivethrough bays are air-conditioned and provide better spaces for StyleRide workers to complete the efficient process. 

“I’d say it’s now about 30 per cent faster for us to do these projects,” Long says. “It’s created one of those opportunities where we have everyone on site so if we need a couple of extra bodies, we can grab a few from the production line. 

“It all just speeds up our processes and makes us better as a business.” 

Long says it’s all created a new feel at StyleRide. The seat manufacturers primarily focused on bus and coach seats, andcan now expand its offerings coming from the larger and cleaner new manufacturing centre. Long says he’s noticed the happier atmosphere around the new centre. 

It’s led StyleRide to expand its ventures. Rather than just being a bus and coach seat builder, Long says the company is offering a new range of products that can be used on a wide variety of vehicles. New Italian Lazzerini products are also entering StyleRide’s offerings to provide more options for StyleRide customers. Whether it be ferries, coaches, trucks or marine vehicles, StyleRide can cover it with its seating products. 

“Our core has always been to supply bus seats and it’ll stay as that,” Long says. “But we now have some defence force projects coming through and more marine projects, while we are also looking to export into Australia and New Zealand too. 

“We’ve got these new projects coming through that we’re really excited about – we’re diversifying into new markets and it’s a thrilling time for StyleRide.” 

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