Honda's former motorcycle plant is back up and running, albeit in a new capacity.

Honda's former motorcycle plant is back up and running, albeit in a new capacity.

Honda of America Mfg. Inc. announced last week that the facility is now being used as an on-site parts consolidation center, which will deliver parts directly to the Marysville Auto Plant.

The center is intended to enhance manufacturing efficiency and flexibility, according to Honda spokesman Ron Lietzke. Startup of the new material management center will eliminate the use of shuttle trucks for transport of parts by 130 loads per day when fully operational, he said, resulting in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

"This on-site parts consolidation center is a win-win for Honda and the community and an important new step in our history in Ohio," said Dave King, production control manager at the Marysville plant, who led the project.

"Reducing the number of steps in parts logistics strengthens our foundation by improving our efficiency and flexibility at responding to changing market conditions, while also reducing our impact to the environment."

The material management center's operations currently include one parts consolidation line, according to Lietzke. Two more lines will begin operation in the coming months. To prepare the former motorcycle plant for its new use, Honda added 11 new loading docks to the center, along with an 800-foot connector tunnel between the consolidation center and the Marysville Auto Plant for deliver of parts in sequence for automobile manufacturing.

The new operation is managed by Midwest Express Inc., and is intended to reduce parts handling, streamline manufacturing operations and improve quality and utilization of plant space, according to Lietzke.

"It took a strong collaborative effort from many teams to achieve a successful startup," King said. "I would like to express my sincere thanks to the entire project team and welcome the associates at Midwest Express to the Marysville campus."

Midwest Express has provided parts logistics and warehousing services to Honda of America Mfg. since 1987. It is relocating its parts consolidation operations from a facility off U.S. 33 (between Honda's Marysville and East Liberty auto plants) to the new material management center.

Honda of America Mfg. Inc. closed down the motorcycle production plant in 2009, 29 years after producing the first Ohio-built motorcycle, a red CR 250 dirt bike. The decades of motorcycle production spawned the Honda Homecoming motorcycle rally weekend, and its current incarnation, the All Ohio Bike Fest. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the Midwest regularly pour into Marysville during the summer to attend the event.