Ever wonder exactly how the parts you order get to you when you need them where you need them? Meritor recently invited Heavy Duty Trucking to its Florence, Ky., Parts Distribution Center.
The 190,000-square-foot aftermarket parts distribution facility, which opened in 1976, is IS0 1900:2000 and prides itself on its quality and shipping accuracy. Twenty-seven of the approximately 450 employees hold Six Sigma black or green belts. The PDC has a variety of quality assurance procedures in place including its on-site own testing lab. In addition, a Design Material Optimization Center — the one area we were asked not to photograph — continuously reviews Meritor products and those of its competitors to look at ways to reduce costs or improve product features.
The PDC handles 27 different product lines comprising 161,000 parts numbers. Each day 30 to 40 truckloads of parts and components arrive at the facility. Once a truck arrives, employees process it quickly and all parts are put away within 12.5 hours.
An equal number of trucks leave the PDC each day carrying parts to dealers and independent parts distributors. Approximately 10% of the orders — about 800 — are for trucks that are down. If those orders are received by 3 p.m. the parts are shipped the same day.
Inside the PDC, a Customer Care Center receives approximately 1,000 calls a day. On the day HDT visited, by late afternoon the center had already handled 820 calls. The center has three teams: order processing, customer care and research. The order processing team answers customer questions about price and availability. The customer care team opens case files when there are problems and tries to resolve issues with one call. In fact 85% of problems are resolved with only one call and 97% are resolved within 24 hours. The research team, which is not tied to the telephone, investigates more complicated problems.
Fast-moving parts are located in the VAS Supermarket. This area of the PDC went through a lean transformation to take waste out and add speed and agility in order to better react to market needs.
Kits are part of the VAS Supermarket. To ensure accuracy, kit weights are checked. This is part of what leads to the PDC’s 99% inventory accuracy and 99.85% shipping accuracy. The company says it wants it customers assured that when they open a shipping box that they got exactly what they ordered.
The plant is currently operating two shifts five days a week, but because of process improvements, Tim Bauer, aftermarket business unit director - undercarriage products, says the PDC is handling as many orders as it previously did with three shifts.
For a closer look at the Meritor PDC, see this photo gallery.