more on Production

Word Count (WC) 517
Publication Date (PD) 02/12/2001
Publication Name (SN) The Weekly of Business Aviation
Source Code (SC) BA
Page (PG) 77
Volume (VOL) Vol. 72, No. 7
Copyright (CY) (Copyright 2001 McGraw-Hill, Inc.)
Lead Paragraph (LP) Cirrus Design Corp. last week handed over the first of its new SR22 single-piston airplanes to a customer, but the delivery came one day after the Duluth, Minn. manufacturer announced it is temporarily laying off 20 percent of its workers. Cirrus cited problems with integration of its newest aircraft model into the existing production line in its decision to cut 127 positions from its payroll.
Cirrus, one of the first start-up companies in years to receive type certification on a new airplane design, had ramped up production of its initial product, the SR20 composite aircraft, to almost one a day in December. Cirrus delivered 111 SR20s in the last 18 months and produced 97 last year. “This rate highlighted where improvements in productivity and capacity could be made,” the company stated. “A number of issues were identified that required management and plant changes in the production area.”

Text (TD) A spokesman told BA that the increased production rates “exposed weaknesses in supply lines and process flows,” a situation that made officials decide the company had to pause and reorganize its production plans.
Those changes included moving tooling to accommodate SR22 production, Cirrus said. “The integration hadn’t gone as smoothly as we hoped it would,” a company spokesman said. The company wanted to “charge ahead” but needed to step back and make sure it could accommodate its growth. “Recruiting got ahead of processes and procedures,” the spokesman said.

“Over the last 18 months, we have grown tremendously and have accomplished a great deal,” said Cirrus President and CEO Alan Klapmeier. “It is now time for us to capture the gains we have made in production and focus on improving efficiency.” Although the spokesman agreed that the layoffs are a cost-savings effort, he said they do not stem from problems with cash flow. “It’s just that during this time, we didn’t have anything for these folks to do,” he said.

The company slowed production last month to 10 airplanes and is increasing it to 12 this month. Officials hope to get production back up to 21 a month by April and stabilize at that rate. Cirrus hopes to recall workers once it gets its production processes smoothed out but until then its employment will stand at 512, the company said.

Cirrus expects first quarter production to come close to fourth quarter production as it builds both models. Cirrus received its production certificate for the SR22 in December, shortly after the type certificate was awarded Nov. 30 and a little more than 14 months after engineering development on the program began.

The first SR22 was delivered to Paul Traina of Menlo Park, Calif. The aircraft, the follow-on to the SR20, is powered by a 310 horsepower Teledyne Continental IO-550-N engine, cruises at 180 knots with 75 percent power, climbs at 1,400 feet per minute at sea level, and has a long-range cruise of more than 1,000 nautical miles. Like the 200hp SR20, the SR22 is equipped with the Cirrus airframe parachute system.

Backlog for the SR22, which carries a base price of $276,600, is 203. Backlog for its sister SR20 is 661.

Company Name (CMP) CIRRDS:|Cirrus Design Corp ~~