A supermarket setup and high-performing sub-assembly line keep truck parts rolling full speed ahead at a North Carolina plant.
Nothing collects dust at the Daimler Trucks Components & Logistics facility in Gastonia, North Carolina. The plant runs 24/7, rapidly fulfilling orders and sub-assembly of thousands of parts used to build commercial trucks and buses for Daimler customers in North America.
“We have an excessive amount of work and multiple activities going on at once,” says Rodney Honeycutt, Materials Supervisor. “Space, speed, and accuracy are very important at our facility.”
To achieve all three and more, Rodney says Daimler turned to UNEX to transform “an archaic” storage, picking, and lineside sub-assembly system into an “efficient, nimble, and quick-moving operation.”
The Speed Bumps
The Components & Logistics facility was originally designed as a distribution center, but with the company’s growth and a full-scale truck manufacturing plant nearby, the facility quickly added a sub-assembly area as well. The site includes 4,000 square feet, where 2,600 small truck parts are picked, such as bolts, nuts, and other fasteners; 800 square feet of lineside assembly space; and areas for pressing and stamping operations.
Initially, bulky cardboard boxes on pallets filled the small-parts pick area. “It was a mess,” says Tom Currier, the Distributor from Harris Handling, who helped Daimler find more efficient solutions for the site. “People were using box cutters and ripping open cartons to grab what they needed. There were stray screws and empty boxes scattered all over the floor.”
The cumbersome setup created a major speed bump for pickers responsible for delivering the fasteners to lineside. It also boxed in the space, and that was a significant issue for Daimler. The site needed to quadruple the number of parts coming in – an impossible goal to achieve with the old racking system in place.