In a move to deliver vehicle service and repair parts to dealers faster and more efficiently, Ford will open a new parts distribution center in October 2003 in Menomonie, Wisconsin, approximately 60 miles east of the Twin Cities.

Ford will lease 200,000 square feet of building space to develop a so-called High-Velocity Centre just off Interstate 94 at Exit 41.

Last year, Ford announced plans to replace its existing group of 10 parts distribution facilities with 21 new centres located around the country. This will create a nationwide network of specialised parts hubs that will allow dealers to order and receive parts every day, instead of the once-per-week standard under the previous system.

“For the eight new facilities that have opened thus far, dealer order-to-delivery time has improved 80%, and we've already seen a significant increase in customer satisfaction said Ford parts supply and logistics head Don Johnson.

The new Wisconsin centre will be one of 19 opened across the country to concentrate high-volume parts in locations close to dealers to provide daily delivery and improve parts availability along with dealer inventory performance.

Items distributed by these centres -- such as filters and spark plugs -- account for more than 80% of dealers' needs for customer repairs.

The Menomonie facility will supply vehicle service and repair parts to about 400 dealers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan and Iowa.

Dealers will order from 28,000 part numbers stocked with 14,000 pieces picked and shipped to customers every day.

The Menomonie centre will have about 50 employees, most transferring from other Ford Motor Company facilities.

New distribution centres in Memphis, Tennessee; Manteca (Sacramento), California; Houston; Denver; Fort Worth, Texas; Phoenix; Ontario, California; and Portland, Oregon, have opened or are scheduled to begin operations by the end of this year. Others will be opened in key areas around the country by the end of 2004.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more