30 days to go – The clock is ticking!

Electricians, Plumbers and Painters – Oh my!

We have 30 days until our Grand Opening and lots of things are happening all at once at our new distribution center. We had construction crews working all over the building. They are in a mad rush to get everything done in time for us to start moving in on the 18th. The focus was up high today as you can see by the photos.

Electricians were running all the wiring through the ceiling.

The plumber was working over his head as well to finish up the bathroom that we added.

The drywaller had a cool pair of stilts that he absolutely refused to let me use.

Even this guy was hanging out on a high spot today. I was so happy that the security alarm installation was completed today…until I spotted this feathered foe. I have a bad feeling that this guy and I are going to have words in the middle of the night when he sets off our motion detectors.

This guy has the back-breaking job of scrubbing the floor – all 35,000 square feet. Not a very fun task when it is 87 degrees, but he kept at it all day. We are trying to remove all of the dirt, paint and tape from the previous tenants and bring out the floor’s original sheen.

As you can see here, the floors started out pretty rough, and I have a feeling that it will need a lot more work.

The ceiling lights are almost all done, and they really brighten the place up.

We also spent a lot of time today planning out the move of our bulk products. These are the items that are usually sold by the case and they go in the 20’ tall pallet racking. It is important to carefully consider where each product is placed. If it is a fast moving item, we want to keep it close to the doors so that it is easier to receive it and pick it. We also want to store it close to the ground so that our forklift drivers don’t spend a lot of time going up and down the racks. At the same time, some slower moving items need to be on the floor due to their unusual size or weight. Dion, our main forklift operator, was a huge help in our meeting today to strategize the placement of these products. He and Chris will be responsible for getting all of the bulk items labeled and ready to ship, and they will be putting them away in Irving. Spending the time up front to map out the locations will save us tons of time and energy in our day-to-day activities.

What is more exciting to a warehouse nerd than a shiny new pallet jack? I can’t think of a thing. Oh, and Bryce got some geeky IT stuff, too.  Tune in tomorrow for more exciting warehouse adventures.

Comments

  1. Judi,

    Obviously a “labor of love”! and devotion!
    It is excellent that we have you and your talent and enthusiasm there and it looks like you have a great team in place (probably an ever-evolving team).
    Question: Will Irvine be different from the dc’s we’ve done in the past or will we use the same model? Reading about pallet placement made we wonder about that.

    Way to go!
    Angela

  2. judigriffin says:

    Angela-

    I am glad that you asked about the format of this distribution center. For the most part, it will be very similar to our other DC’s. We will still have carousels and the picking and receiving processes will be essentially the same. What will be different is how we decide where to place products. We have spent a lot of time classifying products on a scale of very fast, fast, medium, slow and dead. We then looked further at each product to determine how big it is and how much we typically receive at one time. Then we looked at how people typically purchase it – by the case or each. With all of this information, we laid out zones in the racking so that very fast products are quickly accessed while dead products are farther away.

    Another change is that we have added a zone of static shelving for those slow or dead products. Dead products have not been ordered in the last six months. The first question you have when I say that is, “Why are we keeping dead products?” We have committed to carrying many “families” of products and might have at least one of every shade in a particular line. Those oddball shades don’t sell often, but we still have one on hand just in case. Parts are another example of something that we need to have on hand for those emergencies, but we may only sell one in a year. With that in mind, we don’t necessarily want to take up valuable real estate on our carousels for those products. Our new static shelving will hold up to 4,500 SKUs of this type of slow items.

    The conveyors in this DC will also be different from what we have done in the past. Our typical conveyors had two modes – on or off – and the whole conveyor runs most of the day. Our new conveyors have individually motorized rollers that only run when a tote is ready to pass over them. Every 36″ of conveyor is controlled separately. Now if only one tote is going along, the conveyor rollers will turn on for 36″ as the tote passes over each section and then turn right back off. This will save us a ton on electric bills alone. In addition, these types of rollers are significantly safer than the old model and unbelievably quiet in comparison. This will make a big difference for the people who are working next to those conveyors all day long.

    The other big change is that we designed this DC with Epicor in mind. We know that Epicor will give us the ability to do a lot more scanning of products and locations. We are labeling our new shelving with barcodes so that our bulk pickers can scan the shelf as they put the products away. This will be a great way to eliminate mis-stocked products. IT is adding wireless access points throughout the DC to facilitate the handheld scan guns that we will use with Epicor.

    It was great to be able to look at all of our DC’s to identify the best practices in each and work all of those pieces together in this new facility. It is going to be great!

    Judi

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