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GM parts distribution facility begins operations

The General Motors parts distribution facility in Hudson's St. Croix Business Park has begun operations.

According to Plant Manager Tim O'Neil, the facility started shipping vehicle parts to GM car and truck dealers in five states on Oct. 11. It's currently handling 20 percent of the shipping business from the Edina, Minn., warehouse that it will eventually replace, he said.

Operations at the Hudson facility will increase in waves through Jan. 10, 2005, when it will have assumed all of the shipping formerly done at the Edina facility, O'Neil said.

Sixty-five workers from the Edina distribution center have transferred to Hudson. The workforce will eventually number around 140 people - most of them members of the United Auto Workers union.

O'Neil said the work currently under way at the Hudson warehouse includes stocking it with vehicle parts, setting up equipment and training employees to use the new equipment and processes.

"Things have been going very well. The building was completed on time. It was an excellent location for us. Everything within the industrial park has been very good. The building is better than we expected, and so far the transition has gone quite smoothly," O'Neil said.

The 404,000-square-foot (9.3-acre) distribution center was completed at a cost of roughly $28 million, including land and equipment, said Ray Culbert of GM Service and Parts Operations in Grand Blanc, Mich.

"We think it is going to be our most productive facility in the country," Culbert said. "We have a tremendous workforce up there and a tremendous leadership group."

The facility is designed and equipped to meet the goals of GM's "lean warehousing" concept, he said.

Culbert said 60 to 70 percent of the work activity will take place in the third of the building closest to the truck docks on the south side.

"The key to productivity and efficiency is to have a trained, highly skilled workforce; schedule where you put the parts; and schedule moves to minimize walk time," he said. "I know. I've been on those floors and I've picked stock. The time it takes to pick an order is all tied to the walk distance."

The Hudson facility is one of 15 new GMC parts distribution centers serving car dealers in the United States.

O'Neil said GM isn't planning to hire any new people to staff the Hudson distribution center. Eventually, the entire workforce from the Edina facility will transfer to the Hudson facility.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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