Specialty distributor ECS Tuning has a long history supporting the European car business. Founded as a service shop in Norton, Ohio, in 1962, the company has grown into a specialty distributor of aftermarket and performance parts for Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Porsche, and Volkswagen. ECS boasts a catalog of more than a million parts, all of which are picked, packed, and shipped from its headquarters facility, now in Wadsworth, Ohio.
Accelerating growth in recent years quickly revealed a problem: ECS didn’t have enough capacity in its manual packing process to consistently meet customer needs or expectations.
Company leaders decided they needed a high-tech solution to the challenge.
ECS turned to Sparck Technologies and its CVP Impack automated packaging solution to support both current needs and future demands. With Sparck’s inline auto-boxing technology, each unique single- or multi-item order is 3D-scanned to determine the minimum box size required. Corrugate is then custom cut to eliminate unnecessary volume and the need for filler materials. Finally, the order is auto-boxed in a fit-to-size parcel, taped, weighed, and labeled for shipping.
Today, ECS is getting orders out the door faster without an added burden on employees. The system creates a right-sized box every seven seconds, delivering higher throughput and allowing for better use of labor resources. The CVP Impack can perform the work of about 20 human packers in an eight-hour period, according to both companies, allowing ECS to eliminate manual packing chokepoints while freeing existing staff for higher-value tasks.
From the customer-facing side, the CVP Impack will auto-box up to 70% of ECS’s catalog with little to no void filler or packing material. Company leaders say this goes a long way toward improving the customer experience—by delivering orders in sustainable packaging that is easy to recycle or reuse.“With more associates picking orders and a machine that can handle the volume, we anticipate a substantial increase in the number of orders moved out the door daily,” Max Everhard, general manager of special operations at ECS Tuning, said in a statement describing the project. “That efficiency improvement translates to promises kept on shipping times with in-stock orders that are ready to ship on the same day.”