The 31 Day Journey to Irving

We made the decision in March to relocate our distribution center in Coppell, TX to a much bigger space in nearby Irving, TX. We are moving from our current 14,000 square feet to nearly 35,000 square feet. Our current distribution center is bursting at the seams and the new facility will give us more than enough room for today and well into the future as we grow.

The team in Coppell is really excited to move to this larger space, and I am really excited to be a part of the process. We have a lot to get done in a very short amount of time, and I want to use this blog to share the fun along the way with you. It is a really exciting process to take an empty space and build it into something that is efficient for today, but also prepares us for what will be needed 5 to 10 years down the road. It needs to allow us to pick, pack and ship orders quickly and inexpensively, but it also needs to consider the needs of our associates that spend so much of their time there. We want their workspaces to give them the tools they need to do a great job each day. That means planning out the space to minimize extra motions and wasted energy. It also means adding some super cool new conveyors that help keep everything moving.

Today was my first full day in Texas, and it was a busy one! The morning started with a meeting with Bob “I got this” Starr – our guru of all conveyors and carousels. Bob brought along his project manager, John “Cookie” Cook. We walked through the current configuration in Coppell and compared it to our design for Irving. Then we went to the new building to see how the contractors were progressing.

We had negotiated with the landlord to have several improvements made to the space before we move in. Today was my first look at what had been done so far. The contractor has made a lot of progress. The warehouse walls have been painted white and the poles are a charming traffic yellow.

The contractors still have a lot of work to do to finish out the offices, bathrooms and lunchrooms. We also added a room for all of our IT equipment. As you can see, they have a ways to go on the office space, but they have assured me that everything will be done by May 15th.

The electrician you see (mostly) here is just getting started adding all of the electrical to run our conveyors and carousels. They are also adding outlets for all of the receiving, picking, checking, wrapping and logging stations as well as 220 outlets for our forklift charging areas. In addition, they are running power to the bathroom, janitor closet, and IT room that we added. His crew had almost finished swapping out all of the light fixtures in the warehouse with new super-efficient lighting that will reduce our electrical costs. Most of the fixtures will be motion activated so we will only be lighting up the areas that we are working in – another big savings on our electric bill.

Today was also the day to get the security company started on installing the security system that will keep any toothpaste burglars away. Securing a space that large is quite a task and will take three days.

Another meeting was with our pallet racking specialist Alan DeYoung. He looked over our design for the pallet racking. It will be 20’ high and is quite a job to install. Alan will be installing a lot of new racking prior to the move. After the product moves, he will disassemble our old racking, move it over and reassemble it. I assure you that we will get some interesting photos from that process.

I was back in Coppell in the afternoon to meet with the moving company that will be transporting all of our inventory. What a job that will be! Moving the products will start on the evening of Thursday, May 17th and will be done by Sunday, May 20th. We have about 16,500 different SKUs in the DC and over 300,000 total items. That will be a pretty action packed weekend.

Tomorrow will be more fun with the contractors and some serious planning time devoted to how to organize moving those 300,000 items so that we can find everything on the other end.

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