ABILENE, TX -- Starting 2006 in monumental fashion, Tigé Boats, Inc. has begun production in its new 135,000 square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Abilene, Texas.
Located on 40 acres adjacent to the Abilene Regional Airport, Tigé’s new home is an expansive, ultra-modern complex with state-of-the-art equipment and features aimed at dramatically increasing efficiency and product quality. The complex includes a 105,000 square-foot manufacturing plant, a 12,000 square-foot corporate office complex and an adjoining 18,000 square-foot product development and engineering facility. The new manufacturing facility triples the production capacity of the rapidly growing inboard company.
The opening of the new headquarters followed more than three years of planning and development. Tigé designed and build its new plant specifically for one purpose…the efficient, quality-driven production of its line of multi-sport inboards. According to Tigé CEO Charlie Pigeon, this allowed Tigé to incorporate a number of design elements and innovations that will immediately boost product quality and production efficiency.
“We started with bare ground and decades of combined engineering and boat-building experience,” Pigeon said. “We were able to design every aspect of our new plant around the specific process of building a Tigé. The result has already exceeded our expectations.”
From the climate-controlled, multi-boat gel-coat spray booth on one end to the “clean-room” environment of the final detail department, the new production line embodies streamlined efficiency and state-of-the-art boatbuilding. All molds are stored inside, protected from the elements. Temperature and humidity are closely regulated throughout the entire manufacturing building, maintaining optimum conditions for high-quality composite fabrication. Advanced ventilation systems change the air 20 times each hour, assuring a clean work environment and enhancing worker safety and comfort. The linear layout of the production line moves boats in a straight line from beginning to end. The parts warehouse and upholstery fabrication area are located relative to the production sequence eliminating excessive transport of materials and components.
“The linear production flow and clean working environment are key to maintaining high, consistent quality,” said Tom Austin, Tigé Vice President of Manufacturing. “We designed and built this plant with two primary goals in mind…increasing our capacity and making our high-quality product even better through intelligent organization of the production process.”
The new product development facility features an engineering suite overlooking a fully equipped fabrication workshop for full-scale tooling of boats and components. The facility will allow Tigé engineers to design and produce advanced prototypes and fully develop technological innovations in-house.
“This new R&D facility will allow us to continue to develop cutting-edge products,” Pigeon said, “and respond quickly with new designs and innovations to keep our boats at the forefront of the industry.”
Tigé sales, marketing and administrative departments are housed in an expansive and contemporary office complex. The showroom/reception area includes a gleaming new Tigé boat on display, flat-screen monitors showing company videos and a computer workstation that allows visitors to browse tige.com and design a Tigé using the Build Your Tigé website feature. A large roll-up door opens to transform a conference room into a multi-purpose classroom for use in sales training and meetings.
The new complex has also been designed with the visitor in mind. Plant tours showcasing the entire production process will be more comfortable and informative. A portion of the hallways in the manufacturing facility includes large glass windows, allowing visitors to safely view key production processes.
Tigé’s continued cooperation with the City of Abilene allowed the company to build the new headquarters complex while remaining virtually debt free.
The project is the latest example of the company’s mutually beneficial relationship with the Abilene’s economic development program, which provided an economic incentive when Tigé moved to the city in 1995. That year, Tigé promised and delivered 35 new jobs for Abilene, which provided Tigé with economic incentives. The company’s continued growth has made Tigé an economic development success story for Abilene.
“We currently have approximately 180 employees,” Pigeon said. “By 2010, Tigé plans to increase boat production by over 200 percent and raise employee numbers by 70 percent. Throughout our growth, the city of Abilene has supported us and it’s clear that we have supported and will continue to support Abilene with more jobs and economic activity.”
The decision to locate and remain in Abilene was good for the company in other ways, too. Because Tigé boats are sold through dealerships located throughout the U.S.
and Canada, centrally located Texas is ideal for distribution and eliminates the inefficiency of operating multiple plants in the eastern and western U.S.
The first boats completed at the new plant were delivered January 6, just four days after production resumed. Jake Allen of Skiers Wharf Extreme picked up the boats and was treated to a first hand look at the new Tigé headquarters.
“The entire facility is amazing,” Allen said. “The linear design of the new plant and the amount of space really streamlines the process. It’s clear to me that the operation is much more efficient and favorable to maintaining quality. The quality of Tigé has always been over the top, but this will enable the company to go to the next level.”
Another Tigé dealership -- Family Powersports of San Angelo, Texas -- also visited for a tour and the first sales training session in the new complex.
“The whole plant is more professional and desirable to visit,” Trey Woods, manager of Family Powersports explained. “It is all very impressive and a true testament to Tigé’s strength in the marketplace. It is easy to get my sales team pumped up in a facility like this. Tigé now has a quality building to match their quality product.”
Tigé manufactures eight direct drive and sport V inboard models ranging from 20 to 24 feet in length. Each boat features the patented Tigé ConvexV hull and TAPS2 technology. All are backed by the Tigé LifePlus lifetime replacement warranty, the only replacement warranty in the industry. Tigé has more than 80 dealers in 10 countries. For additional information, please contact Trish Tobin, Tigé Marketing Coordinator, at (325) 676-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.