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10/1/2014 12:00:00 PM

MasterCraft Boat Company has been named a finalist for the 2014 IndustryWeek Best Plants, a prestigious recognition honoring operational excellence in leading-edge manufacturing facilities across North America. The award applauds companies that have successfully implemented proven strategies to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction and foster stimulating and rewarding work environments.

This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the IndustryWeek Best Plants award with well-respected U.S.-based manufacturers such as Harley Davidson, Lockheed Martin and Toyota being named recipients in the past. MasterCraft executives are honored to be recognized among these companies.

As a company, MasterCraft takes great pride in its production facilities and the high caliber of workers we employ, said Terry McNew, President and CEO of MasterCraft. Being named a finalist for IndustryWeek Best Plants further validates our company's operational excellence strategy that has been designed from the ground up to deliver the highest level of quality.

MasterCraft boats have been hand-built by Master Craftsmen in Tennessee since the company's inception in 1968. Over the past four decades, MasterCraft has grown to become one of the worlds leading producers of luxury performance inboard boats thanks to innovative engineering and cutting-edge boat designs that continue to revolutionize watersports.

Beyond its success in terms of market share, MasterCraft continues to set the industry bar in terms of quality and workplace safety. The company is the only marine manufacturer to achieve three separate ISO certifications for Quality, Environmental and Safety management systems across its production and product development operations. ISO standards represent international best practices that have been in place for over 60 years.

Our leadership team identified a strong connection between culture and operating results, said Shane Chittum, COO of MasterCraft. We then affected a company-wide culture shift by implementing world class operational excellence systems, which not only fostered a safer, more productive workplace, but resulted in a superior finished product for our customer, as well.

This culture shift did not simply come from the top down; instead, factory line workers were empowered to suggest ideas for improving the production process themselves with more than 8,000 employee-generated improvements being implemented over the course of one fiscal year. The positive results can be readily seen across the company's operating metrics including a 59% drop in the rate of safety incidents, an improved first pass yield of close to 50% and a 35% increase in customer satisfaction. MasterCraft's production quality has risen to such a point that the company is now the industry's only boat manufacturer to offer a five year, bow-to-stern warranty.

The winners of the 2014 IndustryWeek Best Plants will be profiled in the January 2015 issue of IndustryWeek Magazine as well as honored during the 2015 IndustryWeek Best Plants Conference.

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