Schaeffler Aftermarket Celebrates Opening of New Distribution Center in Ohio

Schaeffler Celebrates Opening of New Aftermarket DC in Ohio

The 250,000-square-foot facility offers expanded capacity for Schaeffler’s North American aftermarket operations.

Schaeffler this week unveiled its new distribution center in Strongsville, Ohio, with senior executives, key customers, political leaders and trade press on hand for a grand-opening ceremony.

The 250,000-square-foot facility south of Cleveland offers expanded warehouse capacity for Schaeffler’s burgeoning North American aftermarket operations, adding nearly 110,000 square feet of space compared to its previous location in nearby Valley City, Ohio – which was Schaeffler’s first dedicated aftermarket facility in North America.

The Valley City facility “served its purpose since 1986,” explained Jerry Conroy, vice president Automotive Aftermarket USA & Canada at Schaeffler. “However, we were at capacity.”

“Racks were full. Every conceivable square inch of space was utilized,” Conroy added. “And therefore as we grew, we had to utilize satellite locations and additional facilities to supplement our operations. For anyone who’s familiar with the distribution business, extra touches are the enemy of efficiency. So we knew we had to make a change.”

Conroy praised Schaeffler’s senior leaders – many of whom were in attendance – for supporting the expansion. Executives “advocated consistently” for Schaeffler’s North American operations “to do whatever was necessary to make sure we have a stronger tomorrow than we had yesterday.”

“I must say that progress was swift, because it had to be,” Conroy said.

Georg F. W. Schaeffler, chairman of the supervisory board of Schaeffler AG, noted that Schaeffler has invested more than $250 million in its Americas region over the past five years “to be close to our customers and to serve them well.”

“The new operation here in Strongsville represents our latest commitment to all of you – be it employees, customers, our other business partners and of course the community itself,” Schaeffler said.

Georg F. W. Schaeffler, chairman of the supervisory board of Schaeffler AG

In addition to providing more space, the Strongsville facility boasts a redesigned layout to improve material flow from inbound to outbound to increase efficiency. For example, in the inbound area, the average putaway time is two days, down from an average of four days in the Valley City facility.

The state-of-the-art facility, which employs approximately 110 people, includes modern office areas designed to foster collaboration.

Consolidating Schaeffler’s aftermarket operations into the Strongsville facility will help the company achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2040, according to Eric Steinbecher, president of Automotive Aftermarket Americas for Schaeffler. He noted that the Strongsville facility will reduce Schaeffler’s CO2 emissions by 250 tons per year compared to the Valley City facility.

“This new facility represents a major milestone for Schaeffler and demonstrates growth, progress and boundless opportunities,” Steinbecher declared. “It is more than just a building. It is a symbol of our commitment to the U.S. and Canadian market. It gives us an opportunity for growth in the next decades to come, and the ability to lead our industry toward digital and technological transformation.”

The Strongsville facility is responsible for a business that shipped approximately 6.9 million pieces in 2022, with net sales of more than $160 million, according to Conroy. The facility supports sales of chassis, engine and transmission parts for the Schaeffler, LuK and INA brands.

For now, the facility’s highest-volume parts are clutches and clutch kits for manual transmissions. However, Schaeffler is well-aware that demand for clutches likely will continue to evaporate in the years ahead.

“But true to the Schaeffler spirit of pioneering, that fact has turned into an opportunity, and our future has never looked so bright as we continue to expand our offering and deliver value-added solutions in this market,” Conroy said. “ … Although the aftermarket is in a state of continuous change and flux – whether it’s the technology or the products or the channels of distribution that we work through – this facility was built to be flexible and to meet the challenges and opportunities of today as well as tomorrow.”

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