Smithfield, RI – Now that Covid is somewhat behind us and people resume their normal routines, business travel is back for many including myself. I tend to try to visit ABPA members that reside in cities where I may be in town for a convention or trade show. Recently while visiting southern California for a quick trip, I took the opportunity to visit long-time ABPA member Maxzone Auto Parts located in sunny Fontana, California.
Galen Chen, Maxzone’s VP of Business Development, is a member of the ABPA Board of Directors and has held this position for many years. Galen has been gracious enough to have given me an “open” invitation to visit his facility the next time I was in the area. Although it took me a few years to take him up on his offer, it was well worth the wait.
A brief history on Maxzone first; Maxzone, headed by Polo Hsu, is the North American subsidiary of Depo which was established in 1977 in Taiwan where it still maintains its world headquarters. The company has grown to approximately 3900 employees worldwide and is known for making quality aftermarket products. Maxzone in the US has four strategically placed warehouse distribution centers In New Jersey, Georgia, Illinois, and California (Fontana) which serves as their stateside headquarters.
Upon arriving to the facility, in the absence of Polo who was in Taiwan for business, Galen started right away with the tour of the warehouse which he and other employees are clearly proud of. The Fontana headquarters is massive at approximately 200,000 square feet of warehouse space with high ceilings and is spacious, clean, modern, and well-stocked with product. Anytime I visit a facility that is dedicated to warehousing small items such as auto lamps and mirrors, I am amazed at how much product can be cleanly and efficiently warehoused. This is in comparison to many ABPA distributors that are burdened with stocking multiple, bulky product lines such as bumper covers and sheet metal items.
During the tour, Galen shared with me some of the issues that they are experiencing that many ABPA members can relate to. These issues include staffing shortages and the excessive costs of freight. With a large Amazon facility located nearby, competing with such a large company for employees can be difficult at times. Despite these challenges, Maxzone has been moving forward in servicing their customers, introducing new products, and increasing production of their new line of heavy-duty truck parts.
After meeting key personnel at the end of the tour, Galen was kind enough to take me out to lunch before I had to head back to Newport Beach for preconvention work. Thank you again to Galen and the Maxzone staff for their hospitality and I look forward to seeing more ABPA members in my future travels.
Automotive Body Parts Association
Check out the gallery below for some photos from the visit: