Personal Body-Scanning Takes to the Road

When Cary NC-based ImageTwin and Dodgeville WI-based Lands' End decided to create the Lands' End My Virtual Model Tour in 2000, and be the first to introduce ImageTwin body-scanning, ImageTwin turned to Mobility Resources Associates (MRA) and Trailer Technologies Inc to take its "dressing room" on the road in a custom mobile semitrailer. Launched Oct 18, 2000, in New York City, ImageTwin's mobile scanning unit helped participating Lands' End customers create a virtual double of themselves so they could virtually "try on" clothes before purchase from landsend.com.

Walled Lake MI-based Trailer Technologies built the 48-foot, expandable trailer. The trailer provided partners Lands' End, Montreal, Canada-based My Virtual Model, and ImageTwin with 548 square feet of floor space for displays, graphics, reception area, and scanning room. The exterior of the trailer is jet black with all three partners' logos; the Atlanta GA-based division of Exhibitgroup/Giltspur designed the interior.

The 14-week tour is managed by Reach Marketing, Westport CT; the St Clair Shores MI-based MRA is providing tour logistics services. ImageTwin plans to place 50 body-scanning kiosks in shopping centers and retail outlets in major US cities sometime this year.

Strippit Turret Cell Adheres to Lean Thinking Installation of a 6,400-square-foot turret cell in Strippit Inc's Akron NY manufacturing facility is part of the company's application of the Lean Thinking manufacturing philosophy. This installation is a self-contained, centralized manufacturing and assembly process for production of Strippit turrets.

The installation consists of custom equipment including a turning center, vertical double column machining center, gear hobber, and final assembly. Completion of this cell has helped the company reduce lead times from as much as 16 weeks to as little as three days.

Machining time on the turrets themselves is down 60% after purchase of the vertical double-column-machining center. The prior machining method required turrets to be manufactured on four different machines, while the new configuration completes three of those operations at one workstation.

Before the installation, turrets would travel over a mile on the shop floor during the manufacturing process with work-in-process at each operation. As a result, the system regularly held more than $600,000 of work-in-process. After implementation of the cell, turrets move a total of 60 feet, and work-in-process is reduced to less than $100,000. Installation of the turret cell means Strippit no longer manufactures for stock, but produces product as customer orders require.

Rock N' Dirt Program Showcases Solutions Several new creative approaches to construction trucks were recently in action at Rock N' Dirt, a program sponsored by Kenworth Truck Co and Caterpillar Inc. The event, designed for construction companies and other vocational truck users, was held at Caterpillar's 6,000-acre Tinaja Hills proving grounds facility near Tucson AZ.

More than 100 customers were on hand to see the latest in weight-saving components, plus view new truck configurations. Kenworth offers construction models ranging from its Class 7 T300 to its Model 993, which can accommodate a 700 horsepower engine and handle loads exceeding 500,000 pounds. While 10 Kenworth trucks were on display, the creative use of pusher axles and tandem steering gained most of the attention.

ATHS Plans Convention, Antique Truck Show The American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) is completing plans for its 30th annual convention/22nd annual antique truck show, set for June 6-8, 2001, at the Reno Hilton Hotel in Reno NV. Host for the events is the Sierra Nevada Chapter of ATHS.

Activities are expected to draw 8,000 to 10,000 ATHS members, guests, and vendors and more than 500 antique trucks (at least 25 years old). The ATHS board of directors meeting is June 7, the group's annual meeting is June 8, and speaker sessions are set for June 8-9. Open to the public, the antique truck show will be held June 8-9.

For more information, phone 205-870-0566 or access the web site at www.aths.org.

Hendrickson Streamlines Customer Contact Hendrickson has enhanced its phone system for trailer suspension customer service and technical service, accelerating response to incoming calls. The marketing department has opened two avenues of communication: 866-RIDEAIR (866-742-3247) and an e-mail option, [email protected] Technical service has consolidated all calls using 800-455-0043.

Both the RIDEAIR toll-free number and e-mail box are managed by an administrative assistant who directs customers to the appropriate representative. The e-mail address may also be used for digital ordering guides and forms.

Under both systems, customers calling during business hours are assured of speaking with a person and are only transferred to voice mail at their own request if all lines remain busy.

For technical service, the caller automatically connects to an open service representative. If all representatives are busy, callers cue for the next open line. The system reduces maximum hold times, transferring callers to the customer service attendant for periodic update on availability of representatives.

Those familiar with their service or technical service representatives still have the option of e-mailing or telephoning their specific representative directly.

Sherwin-Williams Adds E-Store to Web Site Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corp launched its E-Store at the 2000 National Autobody Conference in Orlando FL recently. The E-Store is designed to simplify online ordering for Sherwin-Williams' customers.

The site, located at www.sherwin-automotive.com/estore, will offer more than 4,000 paint and associated products. Each product listing will have a product description, including detailed instructions on use and benefits, as well as Material Safety Data Sheets and product data sheets, if available.

An advantage of the E-Store will be its Color Formula Finder function. After the user enters a vehicle's make, model, and year, the Color Formula Finder will provide the color formula for the vehicle in all available qualities. Registered customers then can choose the formula needed to match, and the Color Formula Finder will provide mixing instructions to create the color.

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