As a Tier 1 supplier, Aisin manufactures components from beginning to end and ships directly to its automotive customers. Aisin also acts as a Tier 2 supplier. It works with Total Interior Systems America (TISA, Princeton, Ind.), a manufacturer of automotive seats and other interior parts to manufacture directional components for automotive seats.
"Basically, we create the hardware under the seat that makes it move forward and backward and tilt up and down," says Tom Dunker, Aisin packaging engineer. "Then TISA adds the foam and covering to match the car. In this case, we're the Tier 2 to its Tier 1 product." Aisin deals with thousands of pieces from components to finished product. At its 750,000 square-foot manufacturing and logistics facility in Seymour, Ind., Aisin runs more than 275 production lines a day and fills more than 100 truckloads.
Reusable packaging's cost efficiency and interchangeable packing options are ideal for companies with frequent closedloop systems and high volumes of parts such as those between Aisin and its customers. To optimize its packing systems, Aisin uses reusable packaging products from Orbis Corp. (Oconomowoc, Wis.)
Aisin uses totes for everything from storage of piece parts on assembly lines to packaging the finished components ready for shipment to the customer. The combination of plastic reusable containers and Aisin's computerized inventory system is key to managing the assembly, storage and shipment of quality components.
In addition to the sheer volume and complexity of its processes, Aisin must meet size and weight guidelines for shipping while still maintaining component quality and integrity. Aisin's container loads, often 48 inches high, are shipped on 48 x 45-inch AIAG-approved pallets.
"Our containers are interchangeable, meaning you can put the containers in a number of different combinations and still fit the pallet," Dunker says. "This benefits us because the pallets are specifically sized to best fit truckloads, allowing us to maximize our part density in each load. That's where our savings occur." With a typical trailer measuring 10 feet wide by 53 feet long, Aisin can efficiently ship 44 pallet loads on each trailer.