Autocar Finds New Digs

Autocar, Union City, Ind., is moving to a bigger house. Manufacturing and corporate offices will be concentrated under one roof, and the company will resume production of the Xpeditor truck series by the second quarter of 2003.

Currently, the trucks are being manufactured at Volvo's Dublin, Va., plant. But when production moves to the new 135,000-square-foot facility in Hagerstown, Ind., the assembly process will get an overhaul.

Computers will replace paper instructions, which will allow all departments to access each work order and modify instructions to accommodate last-minute changes. Autocar General Manager Robert Atkins says this new “paper-light” network will allow customers to be more involved with their purchases and will give them more options for custom trucks.

“Operators can pull up drawings and interrogate the system in a number of ways to find out what has to be done for that particular truck as it's being assembled,” Atkins says. “Normally, there are a lot of preprinted instructions given out in advance. That limits your ability to respond to the customer. This system is … more adaptive to customer needs.”

Atkins says “the variety of things [modifications] that customers may want added on is almost endless.”

The move not only will consolidate corporate, engineering and production operations in one place, it also will put the company in a location to share specialized personnel with Autocar's sister companies: Workhorse Custom Chassis, Highland Park, Ill., Union City Body Co., Union City, Ind., and GVW Parts, Highland Park, Ill.