When Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI) expanded its Tuscaloosa, Ala. assembly plant for its M-Class sport utility vehicle, it chose to continue its relationship with Hyster Company as its lift truck provider. The $600 million expansion included a second assembly shop and paint shop and a larger body shop. The auto manufacturer currently uses approximately 200 Hyster (Greenville, N.C.) lift trucks.
Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa operation is primarily an assembly plant. The current lift truck fleet is used to move parts throughout the factory. Considering the plant is 1.2 million sq. ft. and produces one M-Class every 2.7 minutes (with about 14,000 parts per unit), that’s a lot of movement. Mercedes-Benz runs a “just-in-time” operation: In the body shop alone there are three parts deliveries per shift.
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