MILTON, Ont. – Volvo Group has opened a massive new parts distribution center (PDC) in Milton, Ont., triple the size of its former Mississauga location, about 20 kms away.
More favorable real estate pricing, less traffic congestion, airport access, and moving into an area that’s still serviced by its existing carriers were a few of the reasons the company chose the new location. Volvo Group took over the new warehouse, at 8640 Escarpment Way, at the end of 2018. At that time, it was a bare bones warehouse and shop floor. Volvo Group’s Service Market Logistics division added an office area, fitness center, and about 5,500 sq.-ft. of admin space.
There are now 38 employees working at the PDC, up from 26 at the former location. More than 84,652 Volvo and Mack Trucks, and Volvo Construction Equipment parts are stored here for delivery right across Canada. The Volvo Construction Equipment parts are a new addition; previously, those had to be ordered from the U.S., requiring a two- to three-day lead time.
The key benefit for trucking customers is that the larger space is capable of housing more parts. Bob Hochwarth, vice-president of service parts logistics, said 95% of Volvo’s parts deliveries globally are delivered within 24 hours. The company operates 54 PDCs around the world, with seven in North America including one in Canada. But Hochwarth noted customers as far away as Whitehorse have received next-day parts delivery from the Toronto-area PDC. More than 800,000 parts orders flow through the PDC each year.
“We are really proud of this facility and the work that has been done by the team here in this location,” Hochwarth said. “They moved this facility within a 10-day period. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make that happen.”
Martin Johnston, manager of projects with Volvo Group’s Service Market Logistics division, agreed.
“It was quite an effort,” he said. “Within two weeks we labeled all these locations with scannable barcodes and then we had a huge box-folding party.”
Volvo Production System (VPS) boards are set up at stations throughout the warehouse, where meetings are held each day to discuss order line fulfillment, in-bound receipts, safety, quality, and other metrics. The site is also environmentally friendly. About 35 forklifts, cherry pickers and order selectors are electric-powered by fast charging stations that can charge up a forklift in 30 minutes.
“So, utilization of that equipment is very good,” Johnston explained.
Carriers serving the facility are given dedicated dock doors, so drivers can easily find the right door. There are 83,740 pickable locations throughout the facility.
Johnston said the timing couldn’t be better. Canada is coming off a record-setting year for truck orders, with 34,000 units ordered in 2018. Volvo’s market share increased 31% over the previous year, he added, marking its largest market share increase in its history here.
The Mississauga PDC was in operation since 2001.
Local dignitaries and Volvo officials cut the ribbon at the company’s new Milton, Ont.-based PDC.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies