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Automotive suppliers have a lot to manage on the shop floor, so it’s no surprise that material handling solutions are common in such environments. When this Michigan-based supplier needed to expand its inventory, it needed to come up with a different material handling solution that would fulfill its needs. The Flexpipe system was there to help.
Automotive suppliers traditionally need to have a vast inventory of products and components on hand so they can alter their production lines in short order to deliver the products their customers need. Due to this, finding the correct material handling solution is crucial. Suppliers can’t be scrambling to adjust assembly lines every single time there’s a change – they need to have the right organizational and storage system to configure them accordingly. Welded structures don’t quite make sense for automotive suppliers, simply due to how quickly changes can arise. This particular supplier needed a good, reliable solution for storage, line side presentation and flow racks.
The supplier started to look into the Flexpipe system to see if it would be a good fit.
After weighing different material handling solutions, the supplier decided on Flexpipe. The modular, fully customizable system was less expensive than alternative solutions and offered more benefits. Upon opting to go with Flexpipe, the supplier immediately began producing flow racks and storage racks for its shop floor.
Today, the supplier stocks Flexpipe parts to allow quick changes on the racks and for new assembly line product launches. The maintenance team handles all on-site Flexpipe construction and the supplier has appointed a team to decide how to build new racks when they are warranted. The brainstorming and design process is all-inclusive, with employees able to provide input to better maximize production and efficiency on the shop floor.
Today, the supplier has more than 220 modular Flexpipe structures for the 550 workers that work out of its Michigan facility. In fact, just about every single assembly line uses Flexpipe in some way.
Flexpipe hasn’t just led to efficiency and productivity benefits, but morale benefits as well. For instance, Flexpipe offers a more ergonomic materials handling solution than the steel racks that were used prior. Workers labored to pull boxes using a rod with the racks. Now, they use Flexpipe gravity rollers so they can be more easily reached. Another benefit is that Flexpipe structures are more resistant to wear and tear than the steel racks of yesteryear, which would often require fresh coats of paint after use.
The bottom line is that automotive suppliers are under pressure to deliver – both on time and on budget so that automakers can keep their production schedules on target. As you can imagine, efficiency is everything. With Flexpipe, this Michigan supplier has further streamlined productivity, which is ultimately keeping its customers satisfied.
Temie is a Flexpipe project manager covering the US Midwest and Western Canada. He joined our team in 2014 and has a deep commitment to all his undertakings. What’s more, he is now one of Flexpipe’s three partners.