Toyota Racing Development's race team shop
"It was a mess," says David Pyle, Senior Manager of Toyota Racing Development, referring to the lack of room and disorganized storage permeating the Toyota subsidiary's Engine Build Group facility.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) in Costa Mesa, California, designs and builds Toyota racing engines. Its Indy Racing League (IRL) engine division and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is home to four engine dynamometers, an engine design studio and assembly workshop, and several specialized workshops including one devoted to electronics and electrical wire harness assembly. Because of their continued growth, TRD had reached a point where space was at a premium in most departments. Patience with disorganized storage was becoming even more rare.
"Each guy had his own toolbox from home, so there was no uniformity," Pyle explains. "Also, we used small, bolted-together workbenches that were not that sturdy. Overall, when you look at throughput, space management, and aesthetics, we were lacking."
Leading the field in storage and workspace organization.
TRD looked at a number of suppliers of storage and workspace equipment, and Lista stood out in terms of both quality and racing industry experience. Lista has been a primary supplier to the racing industry for decades. Pyle, and Steve Wickham, TRD's Senior Manager of Electronics and Product Engineering, were both very familiar with the company's reputation for quality.
As a result, TRD outfitted its entire facility with a wide array Lista products, including modular stationary, mobile and stacked units. Some are set up as storage, and some serve as permanent workstations. Others are used as tool transporters. Yet all hold a tremendous range of engine parts, and tools and equipment.
In Pyle's engine assembly workshop, 45 engine technicians each use a workstation that features two Lista cabinets with different drawer combinations, and butcher block worksurfaces. "Typically, each technician will have tools in one cabinet, and spare parts in the other," explains Pyle. "We also have mobile tool transporters in this department for rolling out precision measurement tools like air gages directly to the application. Plus we have stationary cabinets that hold some of the equipment we use less frequently, like pressure testing equipment and the large dummy heads we use to replicate cylinder heads."
The electronics department also reaps many space management benefits from Lista's cabinets and workbenches. "We have five double-sided workstations with a workspace for a technician on either side and boards for pinning drawings in the middle," Wickham explains. "We've customized the cabinets below the worksurface with appropriately sized Lista drawers and, inside the drawers, we've created custom compartments using dividers and foam inserts. Now, we not only have enough space for all of our small parts and hand tools, but everything is stored in the most logical, time-saving manner."
Working primarily with Lista systems has stabilized things at TRD, in more ways than one. First off, there's the stability that comes with working with top-quality, rugged steel equipment. "These things are so stable, it's amazing," declares Pyle.
Wickham agrees. "The Lista product is a robust product that has a solid feel to it, especially if you're using it every day. It's extremely well engineered."
Then there's the stability that comes from uniformity from product to product and department to department. "Right now we have a uniformity that gives us the ability to lay out the shop in a meaningful fashion," Pyle says. "So we have a lot better space management, everything looks more organized, and our entire process makes logical sense."
One great crew deserves another.
Everyone at TRD was not only impressed by the quality of the Lista products, but also by the quality of the Lista service. "Lista's sales team spent a considerable amount of time helping to lay out our shop," recalls Pyle. "They not only gave us a great deal of design input, they actually physically helped us lay out the equipment. Their suggestions definitely helped us save money, because they said, 'Look, if we utilize this piece of equipment, you can get more volume of tools in the drawer.' Their design assistance, which was free of charge, was invaluable."
TRD is seeing a dramatic improvement in space efficiency. "We really weigh down the drawers with a lot of heavy tooling and hand tools," says Pyle. "We appreciate the quality of the cabinets, because our technicians tend to bring them to full capacity. Also, the drawer helps us in terms of space management. We have a relatively small shop. We're able to keep our tooling easily accessible in tight quarters because of the strength of the drawers."
Overall, it's clear that the Lista storage solution has had a tremendously positive impact at TRD. "We understand that it's a premium product," says Wickham. "We're in the premium product business ourselves, so it's a natural match."
"We pretty much have everything we need right now in terms of workspace and storage equipment," Pyle concludes. "But, should we ever need to purchase additional equipment, we're sticking with Lista."