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Harley delays York County ERP launch

By , - Last modified: April 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. has decided to delay the launch of a new system at its York County production site from the current fiscal quarter to early July, according to company statements this week.

Harley expects that implementing the system, called ERP, will give it new capabilities across the supply chain, including an ability to do more factory customization, enable more flexible production and provide end-to-end supply chain integration, according to previous statements.

During ERP system testing, the company found further opportunities to improve the design of the system and reduce downtime during launch, Harley Chief Financial Officer John Olin said during a conference call with investors on Wednesday.

Disruption from the launch also now will not occur during the height of the spring selling season and instead will coincide with the firm's transition to the 2013 model year, Olin said.

Harley embarked on a multiyear restructuring of its York County operations as part of a companywide effort to become more cost effective after it decided in 2009 not to move out of the midstate.

The effort has included consolidating production in Springettsbury Townshipinto one facility and significantly cutting down its local workforce.

The company assembles its Softail, Touring and Trike motorcycles just off Route 30 near York.

This year has started with strong sales and earnings for the motorcycle maker.

First-quarter U.S.retail sales by independent dealers were up 25.5 percent from the year-ago period and international retail sales were up about 11.2 percent, Harley said.

Earnings for the first quarter were 74 cents per diluted share, which beat analyst expectations of about 72 cents per share, according to Yahoo Finance.

Harley also has increased its shipment expectations for the year to up to 250,000 motorcycles based on consumer demand and "limited ability to produce additional motorcycles in 2012," according to a regulatory filing.

Shares of Harley are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HOG.

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