Logistics Insight Corporation – A Major Automotive 3PL

Warren, Michigan USA
September 30, 2004
By
Richard Armstrong

Personnel:
Scott Wolfe, CEO
Mike Akkanen, Senior V. P.
Joe Goryl, V.P.-Supply Chain
Don Berquist, Exec. Director Operations
John Cunningham, Plant Manager
In 1992 Scott Wolfe and Mike Akkanen convinced the owners of Central Transport, a major less-than-truckload carrier to branch out into contract logistics. The new company, Logistics Insight Corporation (LINC), began by leveraging CT’s automotive contacts.

Twelve years later it is a major player in automotive logistics. LINC delivers quality services for GM, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Nissan, Auto Alliances (a Ford/Mazda partnership) and tier 1 suppliers. LINC’s operating excellence is demonstrated by its gold award from DaimlerChrysler for its Auburn Hills operation and it’s A+ assessment rating for its seven GM operations.

LINC’s service list for major automotive manufacturers involves transportation management, dedicated contract carriage, sequencing and subassembly, return containers management, Kanban, JIT to plants, kitting and export-import. These services are integrated to support automotive assembly plants. Some LINC locations deliver 2-3 services; others do the whole list.

An excellent example of a LINC operation is the GM sequencing center in Janesville, WI. Through this center, LINC manages most of the parts for GM’s Tahoe, Denali and Suburban vehicles’ assembly lines. Cabs and engines go directly to the plant. Axles, bumpers, door panels, luggage racks and other parts go through the sequencing center. In all there are 106 different commodity groups with 2,200 SKUs that move through.

About 160 inbound loads of merchandise move into the sequencing center daily. Occasional rail car shipments are handled at one end of the building. Inbound shipments are stored in about 40 bays (locations) at the south end of the building. They are then moved into cells where subassembly, kitting and other preparations are done. The parts are sequentially loaded onto racks, then cells. The loaded racks are moved to the north side of the building. There they are loaded in order into truck trailers which take them directly to specific assembly line locations at precise times.

Here’s a highly simplified layout of the Janesville sequencing center:

 

 

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The building is 710,000 square feet. It is so large inside that it’s hard to believe that 160-170 people are working there at the same time. RF/scanners are the primary tool used to control material flows within the sequencing center. The IT system is LINC’s proprietary supply chain manager Transport. Transport is integrated to GM’s overall inventory control system.

LINC’s operation at GM’s Janesville sequencing center is a good example of the 30 operations conducted for automotive clients. Wolfe and Akkanen have built a large and successful 3PL that is very competitive in the automotive vertical. The question is “What’s next?”

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