Service Trucks International (STI) has opened a new warehouse and installation center in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Situated on a recently purchased 40-acre tract, the newly constructed facility has a footprint in excess of 110,000 square feet. The building's second story provides 30,000 square feet of sales office space. The facility sits in a newly developed industrial park in the town of Sioux Center, a farming community in the northwest corner of Iowa.
“Our old facility had reached its maximum capacity,” says Ronald Hulshof, president of Sioux Automation Center Inc (SAC), the parent company of STI. “Our original plant facility had all of the fabrication activities that it could handle. We looked at the possibilities of adding space to that facility, but it became clear that the cost efficiencies just weren't there. The timing seemed right to add the warehouse facility, so we moved ahead with the plan.”
The company's original facility is located in the heart of downtown Sioux Center. The company has used the downtown location as its main manufacturing facility since the company's inception in the early 1960s. Its founder, John Byl, opened the facility to manufacture farming implements and provide local and regional equipment service.
SAC's main business is manufacturing and distributing farming equipment. A large part of the new facility will be dedicated to the assembly of farm machinery. The main plant will continue with the manufacturing of its Roto Press and Roto Pac bagging equipment, feed mixer parts, MonoMixer and MaxiMixer feed mixers, along with the manufacturing of the service bodies and cranes. SAC is also involved with plastic products and the ownership of Sioux Center's industrial equipment Rent-All Center.
“Under our new plan, all of our products are manufactured at the main plant location, and then either installed or made-ready for customer pick-up at our new location,” says Ed Tullar, product line salesman for Service Trucks International and Tiger cranes. “The new facility mainly provides needed installation space. It also provides warehousing capacity that we didn't have.
Large Parts Inventory
“Warehousing space is important to us because we have a large parts inventory just for our own installation requirements, as well as a substantial aftermarket business.” Service Trucks International sells parts directly to end users, as well as to crane distributors who repair cranes.
“A 24,000-square-foot area that has been built into the facility will allow for multi-level storage of bodies, cranes, and other manufactured parts waiting for customer installation,” says Tullar. “We can pull the manufactured bodies from that area and install them on customer chassis that have arrived at our facility.
“The service bodies and the farming products have some similarities. Much of the equipment used in the installation of service bodies and cranes is applicable to the assembly of the farm implements.”
SAC technicians pride themselves on their ability to build just about anything that is needed. They built many of the fixtures and permanently installed components necessary for the installation of the service bodies.
As an example, SAC technicians built the overhead bridge cranes for the new facility. “We manufacture cranes, we understand the dynamics of cranes, so we feel comfortable building our own bridge cranes,” says Harm Wiersma, crane assembly supervisor. “We bought many of the components such as the hoist and wire cable, but we built all of the steel structure and added all of the articulating features.”
How It Works
“All of our manufacturing is done at the main plant location,” says Tullar. “Then we transport the body to this facility. Once it is here, we store the body until the customer's chassis arrives at this facility. When the chassis arrives, we set it in one of seven 25' × 80' bays. The body will be painted by then, and our objective at that point is to put the body on the chassis as rapidly as possible.
“Service Trucks International has obtained very good results catering to the municipal bid business as well as mining, logging, transportation, and service industries. We will continue to market to these multiple unit buyers. With an 80-foot bay, we can stack multiple units deep into the bay and reap the benefits of rapid installation practices. When we get the larger equipment orders from municipalities and others, we can stack the vehicles three deep in the bay and arrange the installation work to go right down the line — smoothly and very efficiently.”
Each bay is equipped with a full complement of installation tools mounted on mobile carts. This insures that the technicians working on that line's open jobs will have all the necessary equipment at arm's reach.
Items that are specific to the service body/chassis installation are made at the chassis' location by the technicians. Wiring harnesses, for example, are manufactured for the vehicle by the technicians while the truck is completed in the installation bay.
“We get our work done faster and more efficiently since we completed this building,” Tullar says. “It's hard to say what is the value of shortening the installation process by two or three days. However, we are certain that there is cumulative value to shorter installation times, and we are beginning to see the many benefits of the new facility.”