LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Treadco Inc. has increased its visibility and efficiency by moving its North Little Rock retreading facility to a 60,000-sq.-ft. plant near the Little Rock airport, according to President J.J. Seiter. The plant's move places the company's flagship operation just off the I-440 Little Rock bypass near the heavily traveled I-30 and I-40 highways.
``Just about every truck going between Memphis (Tenn.) and Dallas passes the plant,'' Mr. Seiter said, noting increased customer visibility played a role in the decision to purchase the five acres of land surrounding the $1 million facility.
The plant has added new Bandag retreading equipment, including an 8120 buffer and 5120 builder. Although its capacity is currently 160 truck tires per day, that could eventually increase to 200, according to Dan Evans, vice president of administration. The plant was designed to allow for additional capacity ``if the market so dictates,'' the company said.
Since the new facility is at least 50 percent larger than the North Little Rock location, Plant Manager Stan McLellan said, ``We were able to design our work stations to maximize product quality and employee safety. In our first full month of operation, we were able to get adjustments well under 1 percent. That's better than a 30-percent improvement.''
One of the facility's unique features, according to Mr. McLellan, is its second-story break room, which overlooks the retreading operation and allows customers to watch the manufacturing process.
``I know there are a lot of truckers who leave here with a lot more confidence in the retreads they purchased because they had an opportunity to watch our employees build them in a clean, modern facility,'' he said.
The North Little Rock plant, founded in 1959 as Arkansas Bandag, was the company's first retreading operation. Today, Fort Smith, Ark.-based Treadco, the second-largest retreading operation in the U.S., has 26 plants and 45 commercial locations in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.
The company plans to break ground on a similar plant in Springdale, Ark., this spring, Mr. Seiter said. That facility is expected to be open by late summer.
The new projects follow a 1993 company expansion program that saw Treadco increase its manufacturing facilities by four locations and sales outlets by three, including the acquisition of Tampa, Fla.-based Trans World Tire Corp.
Publicly held Treadco's 1993 revenues topped $113 million, Mr. Seiter said, an increase of about 15 percent from 1992 figures.