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Trinity Logistics makes Quad-Cities its home

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Trinity Logistics has established an atmosphere of quality within the workplace and in the warehouse.

The Davenport-based company, established in 2003, specializes in the supply of standard and custom components, including nuts, bolts, screws and fasteners, through catalog distribution, customized inventory management programs and product delivery services.

"Utilizing industry leading technology, we improve the flow of products, services and information across the supply chain resulting in excellence in operations," company officials said on its website.

Dan Zehnder, founder and owner, had been in the business for more than 30 years when he created his own company, which has grown to 156 employees in 10 locations across the country, plus one shared warehouse in Taiwan.

The company, however, is relatively unknown to the general public. 

Some of its clients include Caterpillar, AGCO and CNH Industrial, he added.

Its newest facility, a Muscatine warehouse, held an open house last week to show off the renovations to the building that employs 36 people and is a key site for the company. He said Trinity began leasings the building four years ago and has renovated it. He said it was a former Heinz tomato warehouse. Today, it is a product testing lab.

Since it began in 2003, the company added two new divisions, Trinity Hardware Headquarters, which is its catalog division, and Trinity Plus, a third-party logistics warehousing and custom packaging division.

Zehnder said his story started many years ago. His family owned Ernest Machine, a company that distributed parts and fasteners and bolts. Ernest had a plant in the Quad-Cities since 1984.

There were 13 family members involved. But there was a big change that occurred.

"I lived in the Quad-Cities for 18 years, working for the family business," he said. "Trinity was born out of our family business. We wanted to expand to do packaging and assembly and (the others) did not want to do any of that. So, we decided to split the business. My dad and I went one way and the other 11 relatives went the other way.

"And we made the decision 11 years ago to stay in the Quad-Cities as a corporate office. We started with 65 people company-wide. I had spent 18 years there already and built the business. We had built a good team. They are good people. They already knew the business. We are very blessed to be working the way we are. There are 38 people now working in the Davenport office."

He said when the two companies split, he and company president Tim Dunn had seven months to "grow the business."

"Dan had a different vision how to operate the business and what the business could be," Dunn said of the split. "Each group had to structure a vision where both groups could structure their dreams."

And there are specific plans for added growth over time, including in Davenport, Zehnder said.

Among Trinity's offering is something he calls VMI, or Vender Managed Inventory. That is where the company can deliver tools and parts right to the exact dock or assembly line where companies need the items to be assembled.

"We work on a Tier 2 basis. We are not a direct supplier," Zehnder said. "We support and serve companies that work in the dirt ... farming, construction equipment and mining."

"When we started, we had three warehouses, Fargo, N.D.; Wichita, Kan., and Burlington, Iowa," Dunn said.

Today, it also includes facilities in Benson, Minn.; Waukesha, Wis.; Muscatine; Adairsville, Ga.; Roanoake, Ill.; Kenosha, Wis.; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. 

"Our primary customers are very specific kinds of manufacturers," Dunn said. "We target advertising and marketing materials specifically in those markets. We serve those companies throughout the country and around the world."

Dunn said every part purchased goes through the Muscatine Distribution Center before being shipped.

Jim Berger, operations manager at Muscatine, said the distribution center moved from Burlington to Muscatine four years ago.

"We take care of receipts of most of the components we feed into most of our facilities, plus internal sales orders," Berger said. "We sell or ship to quite a few other customers, internationally and domestically. And we do some packaging here.

"We have 36 people here. It has been a growing number. We have added to the warehouse operations staff and engineering and quality staff and there are some plans for more, three to five more. We evaluating bringing in packaging equipment into our own operation instead of outsourcing it."

"What we do is provide a service we think helps our customers to be better than if we weren't part of their operations," Dunn said. "That is what makes us unique. We always ask 'how do we help our customers do a better job?' "


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