Sundowner Trailers Coleman, Oklahoma KEEPING PRODUCTION MOVING Based out of Coleman, a small town in a rural part of Oklahoma, Sundowner employs 500 people; that’s more than the population of the town itself. And with just two gas stations in town and nowhere to turn for parts, having a supplier on site is critical. A previous supplier only had one person on site, and that individual was stationary, waiting for people to walk over to the crib to get supplies. “In our vendor-managed location, we had a tool crib, which just happened to be right below my office,” said Justin Walker, Sundowner’s general manager. “And all throughout the day, I could see one person coming to the door, and then another person coming to the door, and then three people coming to the door to get a roll of tape or whatever, and it just made me think of all the wasted time and wasted steps.” Moreover, when that vendor’s lone employee missed a day or stepped out, Sundowner would be at a standstill to get the items that were needed for work to keep moving. Sundowner decided it needed to cut down the wasted time spent getting items and stop parts outages from crippling the production flow. ELEMENTS OF EFFICIENCY Mike Mason Purchasing Manager, Sundowner Trailers “As far as how the Fastenal crew interacts with the crew here at Sundowner, it’s been a tremendous asset, always willing to go the extra mile, always willing to do whatever it takes to get product here, which makes my job a lot easier.” VENDING According to Sundowner’s purchasing manager, productivity went up between 10 and 15 percent in just the first month since Fastenal’s onsite started. ELIMINATE WALK TIME Vending at 25 point-of-use locations across the campus means employees have access to what they need right where they need it. SAFETY SUPPORT Fastenal brings in specialists to do trainings and programs with the Sundowner team. The most recent example was an industrial hygiene program for workers on the floor. REDUCE USAGE Partnering with Fastenal also allowed Sundowner to reduce the consumption of PPE products and overconsumption of other common parts. MAKING CHANGES After years of being the leader in the industry for horse and livestock trailers, Sundowner ventured out into new markets during the last economic downturn. They started building toy haulers for recreational use, side-by-sides, utility trailers, car haulers, and even high-end living quarters. “The marketplace is more competitive than ever,” said Justin Walker. “And the components that go into our trailers – while we still want quality components – we want the best price that can be found. That’s what helps us control our costs and continue to grow and sell a quality product at a good price.” It was decided to look for vendor solutions that went beyond just a tool crib. Fastenal came in with a team of Lean Six Sigma experts, showed the Sundowner team real-world examples of what a Fastenal onsite solution could offer, and put together a plan to help them achieve their goals.
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