Monday, June 25, 2018
Publication Date: 06/1/2009
Archive >  June 2009 Issue >  Special Features: Components and Distribution > 

How Mazak Upgraded its World-Class Parts Distribution Center
Mazak ships 1,000 to 1,200 orders per day from its Florence, Kentucky parts distribution center.

Mazak is the largest metal cutting machinery builder in the world, with eight manufacturing facilities in Japan, the United States, the UK, Singapore and China along with 30 technology centers world wide. By producing machines close to its major markets in the world Mazak better understands what its customers need and can develop products to meet their specific requirements.

In 1974, Mazak Corporation established U.S. headquarters in Florence, Kentucky expanding manufacturing operations and offering complete customer support, including customer service, training, unit rebuilding and parts inventory in the United States.˜ It now has eight North American technology centers including Kentucky, Georgia, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, California, Canada and Mexico.

Until recently, Mazak's stockroom consisted of pallet racks and small vertical lift modules (VLMs) that were manually operated. The orders would print out in the stockroom, and workers would use forklifts, skyjacks, ladders and manual VLMs to pick parts. The workers carried the picked orders to the packing areas where they were packed and shipped — 90 percent of them via overnight carriers, and the remaining 10 percent, which were larger items, through contract shipping.
The Remstar VLMs handle 95% more parts (39,000) within the same footprint.

"Nobody orders parts at 8:00 in the morning," says Steve Trammel, National Parts Manager with Mazak. "Part orders come in the afternoon and then we have to get them out the same day for delivery to our customers. That was becoming a huge challenge for us in how our stockroom was operating. We have to push through 1,000 to 1,200 orders in pretty much a 6-hour window, and we were increasingly throwing more and more manpower into it to deal with the situation." "We chose to invest in improving our parts center to maintain customer satisfaction, which is a prime intention for Mazak," explains Trammel. "This is the kind of progressive investment that we have made to be here for our customers and stock our items for many years to come."

Selecting a Solution
Mazak looked at three criteria in the selection process when looking for a company to automate its parts distribution center:

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