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The road ahead for Volvo Group Trucks

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By Laura Toraldo

(HAGERSTOWN, Md.—October 10, 2017) — Innovation drives the future of manufacturing in Maryland for Volvo Group Trucks.

Since 2001, Volvo Group has invested more than $375 million in a 1.5 million-square-foot structure on 280 acres in Hagerstown previously owned by Mack Trucks, Inc. The site connects technology, purchasing, and operations in one location. It employs over 1,600 team members in a variety of roles like manufacturing operation, machinery, material handling, engineering, mechanics, design and tech.

"Our technology team members have a state-of-the-art laboratory and testing facility that are shaping our future," said Communications Manager Belinda Vinson.

Hagerstown is Volvo Group's only heavy-duty diesel powertrain facility in the United States, generating more than $10 million in state and local tax revenue annually. Volvo Group includes brands like Mack Trucks, Prevost, Volvo Buses and Volvo Trucks. Heavy-duty diesel powertrains—engines, transmissions, and axles for those brands are shipped from Washington County and exported worldwide. On average, Volvo Group sends 30 to 40 containers per week through the Port of Baltimore. 

That means more than products. It means work.

"Every one manufacturing job creates five to 10 jobs in the community," Director of Powertrain Production Business Controls Josh Martin said.

With challenges like the rapid pace of change in technology and balancing investing in today's products while preparing for future products, Volvo Group attempts to stay ahead of the curve through innovation. Its team is made of natural inventors.

"A total of 123 patents have been awarded to Hagerstown employees since 1961," said Vinson. "Our manufacturing employees are encouraged to apply innovative ideas and implemented solutions to their daily work."

But staying in business is about more than innovation. It's also about competition. Martin said regulation is one of the biggest threats to competition in the manufacturing industry. 

"The paid sick leave bill in Maryland is [one of] the biggest challenges for us as it would make us less competitive versus other states and countries," Martin said. "Manufacturing is extremely competitive to begin with when you consider that anyone in the world can buy the same machines that we can and can have a lower-cost workforce in other states and countries."