INVACARE CORPORATION, HEADQUARTERED IN ELYRIA, OHIO is the world's largest home health care manufacturer/distributor with projected sales reaching $1 billion by year 2000.
The company's roots go back as far as 1885 when they produced their first vehicles for disabled persons. Over the years, growth has been dynamic, largely through multiple acquisitions of companies with similar or complementing health care products and accessories in North America, Europe and New Zealand.
For more than 15 years General Bearing Corporation has been very much a part of the emergence of this home health care giant. GBC engineers have worked closely with Invacare product designers in the develop- ment and improvement of wheelchairs and related health care equipment. Emphasis has not only been on increasingly effective uses of ball bearings but on producing overall superior products at lower cost.
Phil Thomas, C.P.M., Invacare's Corporate Commodity Manager, has high praise for GBC's hands-on cooperation and service. "General Bearing has always strategically positioned itself to aid in our growth-- our success," he declares. "Together our designers have done a lot of innovative things over the years. These developments have lead to substantial improvements in our product designs. This has also benefited our cost control significantly."
General Bearing's ready product availability has also been a key to the excellent relationship with Invacare. "We count on GBC supplying a wide range of ball bearings on demand to meet our varied requirements," says Thomas. "They've routinely met our needs on a JIT (Just-In-Time) basis over the past eleven years. Regularly scheduled shipments are made to seven widely-dispersed North American production facilities. When it comes to quality, General Bearing is unsurpassed," Thomas continues. "They consistently produce bearing products well within our strict PPM standards. It's all of this that makes them an 'AA' supplier, our highest vendor rating."
Phil Thomas sees the Invacare/GBC relationship as a mutually beneficial partnership. "At times General Bearing people even work side-by-side with our engineers and designers at our Elyria headquarters plant. In working together, both GBC and Invacare have improved manufacturing practices. Moreover, we know that some of General's innovations have enabled us to make substantial advances in our wheelchairs and accessories. It's a relationship that continually benefits both parties."