Pictured Above: Western Tractor’s new store in Medicine Hat, Alta., includes a Dirtt wall system for office doors and windows. The sliding doors save space and the windows provide more natural light for employees.
John Deere dealer Western Tractor built a new facility in Medicine Hat, Alta., and held a grand opening on March 1. “When building the new location we looked at the problems we had with the old facility and how we could solve them. These problems could be anything from time it takes to do a process, safety, storage, customer expectations, work we couldn’t do because of the space (i.e. overhead roof heights), picking parts, etc. With these problems in mind, we investigated ways to make things easier or more productive, plus new opportunities for the future,” says Nathan Andrews, marketing coordinator, Western Tractor.
The new 32,000 square foot facility sits on 20 acres, with 40 more acres still undeveloped. The new facility includes a combined training room/lunchroom. The old location didn’t have any training room for customers and staff. The new building has a dual use room with a dividing curtain if more space is needed.
The service department now has 2 overhead cranes. The old facility didn’t have any overhead cranes, which caused safety and productivity issues, Andrews says. It also has a dedicated wash bay instead of sharing space with the shop.
“The shop has 17 overhead doors — one on each work bay. The old facility had 3 doors in the shop and equipment needed to be scheduled to be all done at the same time otherwise you could not move pieces out in the middle of the shop with other units still in repair, blocking it from door. It was a musical chairs exercise,” he says.
In the service department, Western Tractor installed 17 overhead doors, one for each service bay. Two additional overhead doors with a removable pillar in the middle allow a large enough opening to pull an air seeder into the shop for service.
In addition, there are 2 more overhead doors at the back of the shop that can be opened with a pillar in the center that is removable after opening. This creates a large enough space to pull in an air seeder. Other improvements to the service department include having power running down the middle of shop floor using channels in the floor with steel covers, Andrews explains. Cords can be popped up where needed in shop bays. All the shop bays now have metered hose system for bulk oil. “Technicians can input work order number and litters and pump the needed amount directly into machine. This saves time and costs, and no more pails of oil are being hauled to shop,” he says.
The parts department also saw a number of improvements. The new facility has tiered parts shelving and there are 2 floors of parts storage using shelving systems and Vidmar cabinets, Andrews says. In addition, there is now outdoor cold storage for large bulky items, something Western Tractor didn’t have at its old building. “We either had to find room inside or leave it outdoors in the yard,” he says.
Andrews says the entire facility has easy to clean surfaces. The parts and service counters are stainless, the main floor is polished cement in the showroom and there are drains in shop floor.
The building also uses the Dirtt wall system for door and office windows, which makes use of space saving sliding doors. No room is wasted for in or out swinging doors, it provides a quiet office interior and open glass let’s light flow through the area.
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