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Southeast Toyota Distributors’ $90 Million Processing Facility Designed with Associate Input

Southeast Toyota Distributors will build a new $90 million, 350,000 square-foot campus in Jackson County, Ga., across the street from where it currently processes 140,000 vehicles annually for distribution to Toyota dealers. 

The official ground breaking of the new vehicle processing facility will take place on Dec. 11, 2018, and is estimated to be completed in April 2020. The facility currently employs 236 full-time associates. 

The facility’s design incorporates more than the architect’s ideas. Associates were encouraged to provide feedback on the ways their current environments operate and what could be improved to make them more comfortable, productive and efficient. 

Using kaizen, the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement, the company recruited associate representatives from throughout the facility to compile data from their colleagues. This feedback will be used to help the project design team with process flow, workspace layout and aesthetic. The associates will also aim to address areas for improvement within the current operations. 

To further enhance the associate experience, the Commerce, Ga., facility will feature requested amenities, including a health and wellness center, a nature trail, a 4,000-square-foot fitness center, an all-associate meeting area and expanded café. 

As part of the company’s efforts to minimize environmental impact, the new facility will feature LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures and high-mounted glass windows to take advantage of daylight harvesting by bringing in ample natural light. Trending to receive a LEED certification, the property will also include water retention ponds that will serve as natural bio-swales in place of concrete retention walls. 

The new operation will also include six rail spurs capable of accommodating 90 rail cars at one time.

JE Dunn Construction and Wakefield Beasley & Associates have been tasked with making this vision a reality.

“Our company is based on the principle that associates are our most important asset, and our goals is to create an environment for them that makes coming to work every day an enjoyable experience,” said Kevin Fleeger, group vice president of Southeast Toyota Distributors. “They provided great insight into how we could do our jobs better, and we incorporated their input into the design of our new facility.”

Southeast Toyota Distributors is the world’s largest independent Toyota distributor. The company distributes vehicles, parts and accessories to 177 Toyota dealerships in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Toyota dealers in the Southeast account for nearly 20 percent of all Toyotas sold in the United States, 130,427 of which passed through the Commerce facility in 2017. Before making their way into showrooms in northern Georgia, the Carolinas and northern Alabama, new Toyota vehicles arrive by rail, get fitted with Toyota parts and accessories and are processed before distribution.

Southeast Toyota Distributors opened the Commerce facility in summer 1989 as the first distribution center to process North American-built Toyotas. Less than a year after opening, the facility processed the first Camry assembled in North America.
About Southeast Toyota Distributors LLC

Southeast Toyota Distributors is the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyotas. The company distributes vehicles, parts and accessories to 177 Toyota dealerships in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina and South Carolina. Dealers in this region sell approximately 20 percent of all Toyotas sold in the country. Headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Fla., its vehicle processing facilities are located in Jacksonville, Fla. and Commerce, Ga. Southeast Toyota Distributors is a subsidiary of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., a diversified automotive corporation ranked No. 19 on Forbes' list of America’s Largest Private Companies. JM Family is also ranked No. 94 by FORTUNE® as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For®, its 23rd consecutive year on the list.