How modular carts help this logistics company improve its efficiency

Robinson Innovations, a just-in-time logistics expert, is a partner to the Bombardier plant in Kingston, Ontario, since 2017. Robinson’s role is to reduce the overstock of parts used by Bombardier for the construction of metro cars, light rail vehicles, trams, and commuter rail cars. Robinson Innovations acts as a hub where it unloads parts received by various suppliers and sends them to Bombardier according to the orders they receive daily.

Handling the parts and protecting them during transport to Bombardier was the issue at hand. Read on to discover what a modular-cart solution has helped Robinson achieve.

Estimated reading time: 2.5 min.


Reducing inventory by using third-party logistics

When an order is sent by Bombardier, Robinson begins its production cycle which consists of:

  1. Carrying out quality control of parts shipped by various suppliers (once unpacked);
  2. Picking requested parts;
  3. Loading designated carts;
  4. Shipment to Bombardier plant

With this system, the Robinson Innovations team can carry out same or next-day shipments. The empty carts return to Robinson within about 2 days, ready to be loaded again. The complete cycle starting from when an order is received to the time the empty cart returns to Robinson can take up to 5 days.

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Warehouse wooden crates

Reducing defects with custom-build carts

Robinson was using platform truck carts to handle parts. However, as the painted train parts were especially scratch-sensitive, Robinson knew it had to find a solution to protect the components from being damaged. That’s when they borrowed a concept seen at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant, which was to use custom-made modular carts to replace the existing platform truck carts.

The new carts were equipped with foam protectors to prevent parts from rubbing against each other.

Mission accomplished: the defect rate began to decline!


Carts before / after

We ve learned so much by putting the Flexpipe crib together

The modular system enables the carts to be adaptable, mobile, and used in numerous ways. During our visit, we met Jamie & Jamie, Robinson’s maintenance team. They showed us a cart of which they were particularly proud: a 15-foot structure whose sections can be folded over.

This type of cart is easier to transport and, once unloaded, requires much less space in a truck.


Increasing employee knowledge and creativity

Following the introduction of Lean manufacturing processes in the plant in fall 2016, the employees decided to further their modular system know-how by signing up for a Flexpipe training session.

They also purchased a Flexpipe crib whose assembly gave them a good overview of the system’s possibilities. It was also a good exercise in challenging their creativity and to set up an efficient and productive moonshine shop!

More information:
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The Flexpipe crib helps the carts


Cutting down on order prep time

When carts are custom-made to handle products, they are easier and faster to load. As such, each part has its dedicated spot on the cart, which helps workers save time and protects the parts from scratches and defects.

Using Flexpipe modular carts to process Bombardier’s orders turned out to be a winning proposition with regard to employee efficiency and creativity!

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