CLAYTON — At the new Caterpillar Logistics Services distribution center here, employees will do more than store, track and ship parts. They will also perform quality testing and do some painting of parts.
“We’re going to have a lot of variety there that you might not see at a smaller logistics facility,” said Jason Murphy, head of human resources at the $69 million facility.
The center’s economic impact will spread beyond its 500 to 600 employees and annual payroll of $12 million to $14 million. Caterpillar will hire local vendors for groundskeeping, snow removal and other jobs, Murphy said.
“The ripple effect is going to be tremendous,” said Dan Foley, Montgomery County commissioner.
The center will open sometime in the first or second quarter. There had been no hires as of Dec. 15, but managerial applicants were to be interviewed last week and in January. Ground for the facility was broken in May, and there have already been “several hundred” applications for managerial jobs, Murphy said.
The company needs detail-oriented employees who are accurate, and are able to find and place parts, said Linda Fairbanks, a Caterpillar spokeswoman.
Safety will be important, she said. “Safety is No. 1, and that will be evident to everyone who walks into that facility.”
Mark Sepich, a human resources team leader for the Clayton center, said the company will look through online applications for the best prospects. Those will be scheduled to take a written test on logistics functions, such as “matching between sets,” he said. Those who do well on written tests will be invited to face-to-face interviews.
“We have certain criteria,” Sepich said. “You’ve got to be qualified.”
Prospective employees should have a basic understanding of distribution operations, said Dwight Smith-Daniels, chairman of the Wright State University Department of Information Systems and Operations Management. They also should focus on accuracy, he said.
“This is going to be a zero-defect facility,” Smith-Daniels said. “If you’re shipping the wrong parts, customer service is going to suffer.”
From Clayton’s perspective, the center has already been a boon. Dave Rowlands, Clayton city manager, said he expects income tax revenue from new construction jobs to boost city income $20,000 to $30,000.
About a quarter of a mile of Hoke Road has been widened, with two lanes and two traffic signals added to accommodate traffic to and from the center, Rowlands said.
Clayton donated 163 acres of land, and the state of Ohio offered tax breaks of $1.85 million to draw Caterpillar to the site. Montgomery County also approved a $700,000 ED/GE (Economic Development/Government Equity) grant to improve Hoke.
“It’s a great opportunity of Clayton and Clayton residents, but it’s really a great opportunity for the whole region,” Joyce Deitering, Clayton mayor.
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2390 or tgnau@DaytonDailyNews.com.