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The formula works

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HIGH POINT, NC ? DECEMBER 9, 2019 ? Mickey Truck Bodies is sticking with the formula that made it the nation?s most prolific supplier of sideload-style units and modular ambulances: productivity.

The company is currently delivering 5,000 dry freight van bodies a year in 75,000 square feet of space with a team of less than 100 employees at its main manufacturing complex in High Point, NC.

Of course, it helps that Mickey has invested millions of dollars in technology and plant upgrades over the past several years and is committed to a team culture of continuous improvement ? the company is moving towards 100% automation, where it makes sense, in its van body plant. The Mickey teammates working on the dry freight bodies are professionally trained, highly skilled and generously rewarded based on safety, quality and productivity. The Mickey quality credo is: ?Get it right the first time.?

Two fully automated robotic cells were installed at the Mickey complex in High Point in the past year.

?I was mentored by Mr. Mickey, who I considered to be a mechanical genius. He always believed we could do more with less if we worked smart, not hard,? says Dean Sink, Mickey Chairman. (?Mr. Mickey? is the late Carl F. Mickey, Sr.). ?I also studied the manufacturing techniques of Toyota in Japan, at the time the gold standard in manufacturing efficiency. I was always impressed with how Toyota could build a car in Japan, ship it to the U.S., and still offer superior quality and less cost than our own domestic auto makers. Today, we are delivering dry freight van bodies in half the time it took us two years ago, and the quality has improved. We will be delivering them in half the time again two years from now with continuous improvement in team efficiency and manufacturing automation. We are making major improvements every year in our assembly process, continuously redesigning the workflow. When we are sure that automation will improve any part of the process, we invest in that automation. But we can?t leverage automation without highly trained and motivated employees.?

To illustrate his point, Dean takes a visitor on a tour of the Mickey van plant in High Point. He points out that the production line has been set up so that workers ?do minimal walking ? they should never have to walk more than 10 feet within their workspace. They waste no time looking for tools or parts. They never have to turn around when they?re working on a task ? they?re always facing their work. We?ve been practicing Six Sigma here for 35 years ? we just call it ?The Mickey Way.??

One of the keys to the company?s high productivity is its Employee Feedback Program, especially ideas on how to work more efficiently. ?Nobody knows a job better than the person doing that job,? says Dean. ?In 2019 we have an on-time delivery rate over 98% in our fleet business out of our High Point complex because our team works safe and smart. Our warranty rate is one-tenth of one percent. Every Mickey employee understands that the customers ? not the company ? pay their salaries.?

In his 40-plus years at Mickey, Dean has hosted hundreds of customers on plant tours. ?They all make the same observations,? he explains. ?They?re surprised at the large variety of units we manufacture here and how big our complex is. They always comment on the high energy of our employees. And to a person they say we have the cleanest and most organized truck body and trailer manufacturing facility in the country.

?What that says to me is that the formula works.?

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