Flow Cell Workstations Drive Truck Manufacturer’s Productivity
At the Components and Logistics facility in Gastonia, NC, Daimler Trucks fulfills orders and sub-assembly of thousands of parts. The plant provides parts for North American truck and school bus manufacturers, as well as auto parts stores.
“We have an excessive amount of work and multiple activities going on at once,” says Rodney Honeycutt, materials supervisor at Daimler Trucks. “Space, speed and accuracy are very important at our facility.”
The Components and Logistics facility was designed as a distribution center, but with the company’s growth and a full-scale truck manufacturing plant nearby, a sub-assembly area was added. At the 4,000-square-foot site, 2,600 small truck parts are picked, such as bolts, nuts and other
fasteners. The facility includes 800 square feet of lineside assembly space with areas for pressing and stamping operations.
Initially, bulky cardboard boxes on pallets filled the small-parts pick area. Boxes were cut and ripped open to get to materials, which lead to screws and empty boxes scattered on the floor. This setup slowed down pickers responsible for delivering fasteners to the line. The site needed to quadruple the number of parts coming in—an impossible goal to achieve with the old racking system.
Tom Currier, a distributor from Harris Handling, called in UNEX to provide a solution that would address the space issue and establish an orderly, efficient and safe pick
environment. The UNEX team designed a grocery store-type setup using Flow Cell with 6-inch-wide Span-Track Lanes.
The pick area for fasteners now includes 2,600 Span-Track Lanes, which takes up less space and allows more product in the same footprint. The UNEX system provides high visibility and accessibility. Everything is labeled and coded for quick and accurate pick points.
Maximizing space and efficiency are top priorities for the line-side area as well. In the lineside area, Daimler workers assemble doors, windshield brackets, tire frames and other components to ship to bus and truck manufacturers.
Flow Cell from UNEX turned out to be the best fit. Pickers from the fastener area deliver totes of fasteners to the Flow Cell units, where lineside workers pick the exact screws and bolts needed for assembly.
“Productivity at lineside definitely jumps when workers don’t have to come off their station and waste a half hour to an hour walking 300 feet to sort through the parts they need,” says Currier.
UNEX provided 40 Flow Cell workstations, which allows workers to complete tasks. The easy-to-build steel units are adjustable to accommodate Daimler’s lineside needs.
Honeycutt says his facility has been busier than ever and won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“We need to run the facility as efficiently as possible to keep up, and the UNEX products help us do that,” he says.
For more information on order picking systems and ergonomic workstations, call 800-334-8639 or visit www.unex.com.