Long Motor Co. Works Long Hours Supplying Truck Parts

Long Motor Co. Works Long Hours Supplying Truck Parts

By John Gunnell,

We were travelling through Kansas City on a Monday afternoon, and realized we might be able to stop at LMC Truck in Lenexa, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City) to see the place we’d been ordering lots of parts from. We figured we might be able to come by the next morning if we were lucky, but LMC told us Monday afternoon would do fine for a visit.

We pictured a cadre of workers by the door getting ready to punch their time cards and anxiously ready to go home. As it turned out, we were wrong. Long Motor Co. (the parent company of LMC Truck) is so big that its retail stores are open until early evening; order takers work until 10 pm. and the warehouse is staffed 24/7 to get orders out. With over 400 workers, LMC is a company that can supply reproduction parts and accessories for a variety of cars and trucks very quickly and efficiently.

Truck parts are the biggest piece of the company’s pie. Truck builders should keep the number 30 in mind. Long Motor Corp. has been around 30 years and currently stocks 30,000 truck components. Parts for 1948-2015 Ford, 1947-2013 Chevrolet, 1947-2013 GMC and 1972-2015 Dodge pickup trucks and SUVs are carried. Also in inventory are van parts for 1971-2009 Chevy and GMC, 1975-2012 Ford and 1971-2003 Dodge models.

LMC Truck has a number of different catalogues for different years and models of the four brands of trucks. The inventory includes body replacement panels, chrome bumpers, replacement gas tanks, chrome replacement grilles, steering wheels, seat belts, upholstery and trim items and more. The company also sells accessories such as LED light bars and some custom-designed parts that improve original equipment parts that had quality issues. For instance, the company improved on a Dodge truck dash pad that was known to crack.

Long Motor Corp. currently publishes over 33 catalogues and carries over 40,000 parts for trucks and sports cars. LMC Truck, which started in 1993, is the largest part of the firm. LMC Truck advertises that it provides the Right Part… Right Price… Right Now. The company believes that is not just a motto, but a way of doing business. LMC Truck turned an American dream into a success by stressing a high level of customer service and parts quality to its employees.

Our tour of the company started in the catalogue department. The information that goes into each of the company’s 33 catalogues is carefully researched and a “master” version of each catalogue is stored on a metal shelf in a loose-leaf binder so that notes can be made about needed changes. It was pretty impressive to see all of the different catalogues in one spot and we noticed that LMC also prints a few how-to booklets to help people installing parts.

From the catalogue department, we moved through each area in the building. By this point, it was dinnertime, but the room where the orders come in by phone and Internet was packed with employees who are trained to handle these functions. Everyone was busy there and in the warehouse. We saw pallet racking filled with parts stretching up towards the ceiling, and the ceiling was higher than we ever want to climb inside a building. Special electronic “tracks” guide forklifts down very narrow aisles without hitting the racking. This allows more LMC Truck parts to be stored in a given amount of space.

Everything about the order-filling process, except maybe the rubber tubs the smaller parts go in, is high-tech. Computerized systems make sure that every tub is filled with the correct merchandise and that no extra parts wind up in a tub. We got the impression that it’s very hard—if not impossible—for the people filling the tubs to make a mistake. Scanners and bar codes eliminate human errors.

Orders with larger parts, such as hoods and fenders, are put together in a different part of that warehouse. We were shown some of the latest developments in packaging science that allow huge body panels to be shipped with far less chance of damage than ever before. In addition, some of the new packaging materials used in place of foam-like filler are re-useable, which helps keep expenses down so parts pricing can be managed better.

As we wound our way through a few buildings in a modern industrial park, we came to a couple of rooms—one up and one down—that were both were filled with trucks, including many classic models. The two-story storage area even had a truck elevator to carry vehicles between the levels.

There were Chevy, Ford, GMC and Dodge trucks in the rooms, plus the company’s show trailer. Some of the trucks were virtually new, some were restored and others were unrestored. A number of older trucks were covered with surface rust, but still very solid. A few trucks from different eras were partly disassembled. All of the vehicles are used as models for designing and prototyping new products or as promotional trucks to show off available parts.

ThreeCity Pick-Up Counters, where visitors or local enthusiasts can buy parts over the counters and save shipping costs, are also at the company headquarters in Lenexa. Since the company also sells parts for British sports cars, there is a separate store for those parts. Since truck parts is the biggest branch of the company, they have their own stores (one for Chevy/GMC and Dodge trucks and a new warehouse expansion with a City Pick-up counter for Ford). These locations are well-stocked with parts and catalogues

While we have purchased many British car parts from Long Motor Corp., our experience with their truck parts is limited to a pair of rear quarter panels we bought to replace the rusty originals on a 1989 Chevy C10 pickup. Those panels fit well and were accurate reproductions. We are also all-around happy with the company’s ordering system and haven’t experienced any issues to date.

All LMC catalogues have technical illustrations to help restorers, and though some things aren’t always easy to follow, as we said, the master catalogues are maintained so that improvements can be made each time a catalogue is redone. For that reason, it pays to always have the company’s latest catalogues on hand, something I would recommend for anyone looking to restore any of their older model projects on the go.

Tags: LMC, Trucks