Manufacturing Today - January/February 2016 - 64

Midwest

General Parts

company's central purchasing center and as the warehouse for its direct to the public online store. "Hopefully,
that will be the first of three or four distribution centers,"
Hodge says. "The goal is to have one distribution center
in each area of the country or each time zone."
General Parts is still getting a handle on how to best
operate its distribution business and separate it from the
service side of the company. "We want to make sure we
don't jeopardize our service product because of distribution," Hodge says. To eliminate those complications, the
distribution center is set up as its own business, called
GP-PartsDirect.
Branch locations each still maintain their own inventories, too. That helps each site better support their local
customers without worrying about delays that may arise
from waiting for centralized deliveries.

Tech Savvy
Because speed is essential to its customers, General
Parts must match quick response with quality repair. The

general parts provides parts
and repairs for its food industry
clients, working with more than
300 manufacturers of equipment.

company is using technology to accomplish those goals.
Each technician carries a tablet that allows them to patch
into kitchen equipment and swiftly diagnose problems.
The tablets contain digital versions of service manuals making for fast access to information. Built-in GPS
tracking allows General Parts to efficiently dispatch its
technicians to a site.
As foodservice machines add new capabilities, it's critical that technicians keep up to date on the latest trends
and technologies. "The technology is just incredible
nowadays. That's why all the training is required, because it's changing," Hodge says. "The more sophisticated the equipment becomes, the less likely the guy down
the street knows how to work on it."
A combi oven, for example, merges a traditional oven
with a steamer and convection oven. For many kitchens,
it's the only cooking equipment staff will need. But if the
all-in-one device breaks down, the sous chef or line cook
won't have an alternative way to cook that night's steak.
64

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