Yacht builder undergoes consolidation

OCONTO, Wis. – KCS International, Inc. is relocating Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts to Oconto, Wis., where sister company Cruisers Yachts has been manufacturing yachts for over 50 years, it reported in a statement yesterday.

KCS International, Inc. is moving all of the manufacturing operations from Wilmington, N.C. and consolidating them in Oconto, Wis., such as manufacturing, engineering, accounting, purchasing, customer service, marketing and sales, as well as the overall team management.

“KCS International, Inc. continues to take some bold steps in its effort to enhance the Rampage offshore fishing yachts brand,” said KCS International, Inc. President Jim Viestenz. “We firmly believe that bringing the Rampage brand back to Wisconsin and putting both Rampage Yachts and Cruisers Yachts under one roof will only continue to advance the overall emphasis we place on producing the highest quality of marine products.”

The 450,000 square foot facility in Oconto has plenty of room to accommodate the growing line of Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts, which includes the recently launched 41 Express, according to the company. Rampage will complete its current production schedule in Wilmington, N.C. by the end of the year. By January 2008, KCS International, Inc. expects both brands to be operational in Oconto.

Jeff Brunson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, will assume all responsibilities for both Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts and the Cruisers Yachts brands. This position is now under the umbrella of KCS International, Inc.

According to Bruce Mommaerts, executive director of Oconto County economic development corporation and tourism, the relocation of the Rampage brand to Oconto provides a great opportunity for the region’s strong marine manufacturing industry. ”From an economic standpoint, this addition will also provide a number of jobs for residents in and around the Oconto County, Wis., area,” said Mommaerts.

Going lean

Over the last four years, Rampage has designed and built its boats in Wilmington, N.C., under the direction of Rick Jelinski. Jelinski will also be returning to Oconto, Wis., to oversee human resources and spearhead the “lean manufacturing” initiative.

“Besides human resources, my primary focuses will be to help reduce manufacturing costs, and to ensure better quality of both brands,” said Jelinski. “That is what lean manufacturing is all about. I am very excited about rejoining the team in Oconto, Wisconsin and think that both brands working in tandem will help make us one of the top marine manufacturing powerhouses in the Midwest.”

This year, both Rampage and Cruisers Yachts were recognized by the National Marine Manufacturing Association (NMMA), for the 2007 Customer Satisfaction Index Recognition Award. Cruisers Yachts has been recognized for this award for the 6th consecutive year; this is the first year that Rampage has been recognized with this award.

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