Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced Monday it is expanding its long-standing Huntington, Ind., footprint with the addition of a sixth location, a 409,000 sq.-ft. facility the company says will enable strategic alignment of its manufacturing operations and expanded opportunities to support the company’s escalating commercial vehicle aftermarket business.
Bendix has been operating in Huntington since February 1980 and currently has five locations within a five-mile radius, including manufacturing, remanufacturing, and assembly sites, as well as Bendix’s primary North American distribution center. In 2017 Bendix made a $3.8 million capital investment that included the addition of two new production lines to manufacture a portion of Bendix’s vibration damper product portfolio. Investments continued last year with the first installment of an expected $1.5 million capital plan, which opened the doors on a fifth building that expanded the company’s distribution capabilities, as well as its module manufacturing.
“We’re very proud of our nearly 40-year history here, and this purchase marks the start of another exciting new chapter for our team in Huntington. Our newest addition is just one more way we continue to optimize our manufacturing operations and distribution, while addressing customer demand at the highest level possible,” says Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer.
The facility, located at 1515 Riverfork Drive, is directly across from Bendix’s main plant in Huntington. The purchase price for the former Stride Rite distribution center, shuttered in 2009, was not disclosed. Bendix expects to add approximately 40 additional jobs over a three-year period as it further ramps up operations, bringing the company’s overall total in Huntington to more than 475 employees.
Bendix says the expansive site features 45 freight docks, 36-foot ceiling height, and ultra high-bay racking capacity to optimize and introduce advanced technological options to Bendix’s warehousing and shipping operations, while also offering a nearly 60 percent increase in the campus’ three-shift distribution capability. Project planning for the facility has already begun with initial operations to commence as early as first quarter 2020. Bendix also adds approximately 30 percent of the floor space will be held in reserve to address long-term expansion opportunities.
As part of its overall plan, Bendix expects to consolidate several of its current buildings into the newly purchased Riverfork Drive location. Consolidation within the new location will further boost the company’s vigorous cross-training program, allowing the skilled workforce to flex as needed to meet customer demands, while also helping to enhance communications by placing select central resources within the overall operation in closer proximity to the production floor, the company says.
“As a Tier 1 supplier to the commercial vehicle industry, it’s critical that we start with a blank sheet of paper and pursue every option to further enhance our efficiency and productivity within this new location,” says Christopher Camp, Bendix plant manager, Huntington. “Beyond the advances in our manufacturing operations and the innovation opportunities to multiply our warehousing and fulfillment productivity, our newest plant will also align with our rigorous standards for energy consumption and environmental considerations.”