MISSISSAUGA, ON. For North American heavy-duty fleets and truck owners, Mascot Truck Parts wants to be your local supplier. And in many cases, they already are. You just don't know it.

"We're a private-label type of business, that's why many people don't know who we are," said Mascot president Glenn Hanthorn, adding "that's fine because we're comfortable with that."

Hanthorn, speaking before media and customers at the official grand opening of the company's 100,000-sq.-ft. remanufacturing facility in Mississauga, ON, said about 85% of the 73-year-old company's business is private label. Mascot, an ArvinMeritor company, is an all-makes remanufacturer of transmissions, drivelines, differentials and steering components. So that remanufactured Meritor, Allison or Eaton transmission in your vehicle may have came from Mascot.

Read entire article ...

MISSISSAUGA, ON. For North American heavy-duty fleets and truck owners, Mascot Truck Parts wants to be your local supplier. And in many cases, they already are. You just don't know it.

"We're a private-label type of business, that's why many people don't know who we are," said Mascot president Glenn Hanthorn, adding "that's fine because we're comfortable with that."

Hanthorn, speaking before media and customers at the official grand opening of the company's 100,000-sq.-ft. remanufacturing facility in Mississauga, ON, said about 85% of the 73-year-old company's business is private label. Mascot, an ArvinMeritor company, is an all-makes remanufacturer of transmissions, drivelines, differentials and steering components. So that remanufactured Meritor, Allison or Eaton transmission in your vehicle may have came from Mascot.

The facility, which opened for production in late February, replaces three separate centers in Mississauga. The building, which joins production facilities in Edmonton, Moncton and Montreal, produces 80% of Mascot's products. The company sells solely to wholesalers and OEMs through 30 distribution channels throughout North America as it tries to be as local as possible, according to Hanthorn.

That strategy, said Terry Livingston, ArvinMeritor Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket gm-North America, has always fit well with the parent firm's ideals.

"You've got to be big with scale," Livingston told Fleet Owner, "but also be nice so people understand that you're local. So you have next-day availability and are able to answer questions over the phone for the guy you are dealing with locally. Everybody considers us part of that family and family channel. And when they call and say they have a red truck, you help them out. You find them the inventory, find them what they need and then they know the time (it will be shipped), either same day or next day."

With distribution setup throughout North America, Hanthorn said that almost all parts ordered before 3 p.m. are shipped and available for delivery next day—and in some cases, even the same day.

"The people in that room," he told Fleet Owner, pointing to the manufacturing floor, "this industry is all about relationships, trust. There's obviously the value, the pricing, but it's all about relationships."

Livingston said that even though 80% of Mascot's products come from Mississauga, the technology in use today, including a custom computer program that Hanthorn said streamlines the ordering, stocking and shipping process, allows Mascot to be able to deliver product quickly.

"Take Edmonton, for example," Livingston said, "they could take care of their local customers, but 80% of the business is done [in Mississauga]. Years ago, you didn't have the ability to rapid respond."

Mascot will ship over 1,200 axle carriers and transmissions monthly from the facility and regularly stocks 3,000 transmission units, 4,500 differentials, 1,500 power steering pumps, 1,000 steering gears and 300 drivelines throughout its distribution chain. The company also distributes remanufactured Allison automatic transmissions that come out of ArvinMeritor's Plainfield, IN, plant.

"The availability of inventory, the sales center, the people who have put together the volume, that's what makes us successful," Hanthorn said.

One of the benefits of the facility, Hanthorn said, is the consolidation of functions. One of those is the new sales center, which currently employs three people handling between 500 and 700 calls a day. Mascot employs 153 people in all. The sales center works with customers to identify and order the correct parts and ensures that customers receive the proper credit within 24 hours of calling.

One reason that Mascot has been so successful is its production process itself. Every item follows rigid testing to ensure proper specs based on ISO 9001:2001 Quality Certification that the company received in 1997, becoming the first remanufacturing facility in Canada to obtain the certification. All parts must also meet OEM original specs before they are shipped, something that is confirmed for the customer through a 1-yr./unlimited mileage warranties.

"It's all about the OEM spec," said Guido Sala, senior quality manager. "All gearing is shot-blasted for two reasons—better inspections and spec" assurance. Sala pointed out that all employees are instructed to discard anything that appears damaged.

Mascot tries to salvage as much material as possible for future use, including remanufacturing differential and transmissions cases. "This is a definite advantage for us, A, and B, we can do everything in-house," Hanthorn said. "When we're done, it's better than new."

According to Terry Whiting, site manager, the remanufacturing of cases used to go to outside sources. "We used to subcontract all this out—we had three people, but they couldn't keep up," he said. "It really affected our production schedules; they'd say you'd have something one day and then you wouldn't get it."

Sala and Hanthorn both pointed out several times during the tour that experience plays a key role in ensuring quality products. Many of the final inspections are done by employees with 20-plus years of service. "The people in this area have been here a long time," Sala said, pointing to the gearing inspection area, "so they have a handle on any wear and tear issues."

Instruction manuals for installation are included with each product shipped, but in the case of steering components, customers can also find more in-depth instructions on the company's website, www.mtpi.com. All remanufactured parts are also logged by serial number along with copies of their test results so if a customer does have a problem, Mascot can quickly locate the root cause, Hanthorn said.

In the end, though, it is still about the customer, added Livingston.

"The end customer, he doesn't really care" who remanufactured the part, Livingston said. "All he cares about is that I went to that (dealer) and he took care of me. If we can still take care of that part," then the sale is a success.