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Tire Factory opens high-tech Salt Lake City D/C

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Tire Factory opens high-tech Salt Lake City D/C

Tire Factory LLC, one of the country's largest tire dealer program groups, celebrated the grand opening of its Salt Lake City, Utah, distribution center this past weekend.

The warehouse spans 113,000 square feet and carries the group's full line of tires, plus parts and accessories.

The distribution center will ship products to Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Oklahoma. It currently stocks $6.8 million worth of inventory, according to Steve Helstrom, Tire Factory's director of operations.

The state-of-the-art facility boasts a number of features, including:

* "high output, high efficiency lights" attached to a motion detector system.

* hydraulic dock plates at each loading bay that adjust to meet delivery trucks' dimensions.

* electric-powered lift trucks that are equipped with computer screens for instant, real-time communication.

* 24 cameras scattered throughout the facility that are monitored by executives at Tire Factory's corporate headquarters in Portland, Ore., also the location of the group's other distribution center.

Each tire in the distribution center is barcoded with labels facing the aisles for easy scanning and picking. Warehouse personnel use hand-held scanners that collect data about a tire's location, as well as its weight and dimensional size.

The facility's proprietary computer system "searches for the oldest tires" so older tires are shipped first, says Helstrom, which will be particularly beneficial if tire aging remains a hot-button issue.

"We also have built a program that tracks every employee's productivity -- how many tires they put away, how many tires they pull, etc. At the end of each day, every employee gets a productivity score."

Tire Factory officials are considering the addition of a conveyor belt system that would deliver tires directly into Tire Factory's delivery trucks, "so our employees won't have to roll the tires."

"Because we're a member-owned company, we have to make sure the distribution center enables better service to all of our dealers," says Helstrom. Tire Factory has 185 dealer-members, and more than 40 "non branded members," independent tire dealers who have not yet signed on to be full-fledged members.

"It has to improve their day-to-day lives with inventory accuracy and shipping accuracy. The goal is to make sure they have the right products at the right time."



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