PLAINFIELD IN.- ArvinMeritor, Inc.'s Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket (CVA) unit has put various new processes into the works here at its U.S. remanufacturing plant to field what it calls "the heavy-duty trucking industry's most complete resource for quality reman aftermarket parts."

ArvinMeritor said the in-plant initiatives, launched in concert with employee quality-improvement teams, underscore its commitment to customer service, reflected in the slogan: "Because you need a partner, not just a part."

During a tour of the facility given to the media last week, CVA vp & gm Harry Howard pointed out that with trucking back on the high road, remanufactured components are now a growth market. "Customer demand has resulted in increased production of our reman parts," he said.

According to Howard, Lean Manufacturing techniques introduced at the QS-900 certified plant have upped productivity 20% and helped fill rates reach "record levels." He said the Plainfield facility processes 35% more remanufactured Class 8 brake shoes annually than previously possible.

Recent process improvements in the 275,000-square-foot building have "saved" 25,000 square feet of space, which will be used to handle additional capacity or new product lines. Further planned improvements this year will make another 16,000 square feet available for new business opportunities.

Howard said CVA is also proud of both its positive impact on customer service and community at large. "We offer a no-hassle core program that gives benefits to both the customer and the environment," he stated. "Because of core reuse, we recycle over 93,000 lbs. of steel every day, which helps keep it out of landfills and allows resources for new products."

According to Howard, today's fleet managers understand how a remanufactured brake shoe provides solid value compared to a relined or brand-new product. He pointed out that ArvinMeritor remanufactures brake shoes with an OE-genuine core lining and hardware, meaning they "are not simply relined or rebuilt."

ArvinMeritor's CVA also announced it has been honored with an award for supplier excellence in 2003. Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. and Mack Trucks, Inc. jointly awarded CVA with its "Partnership Plus - Aftermarket Supplier of the Year" award for the U.S.

The company noted the award recognizes suppliers that demonstrate exceptional performance in operations, sales, promotion and field support-and that recipients are selected based on their ability to help grow Volvo's and Mack's parts business and bring products to market. This is the third straight year ArvinMeritor has received this award.