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Distribution Centers Boost Efficiency by Reworking Existing Buildings

From improved lighting to a new mezzanine to repairing damaged uprights, Sport Supply Group's Distribution Center was upgraded to accommodate significant growth without expansion.

(Boonton, NJ, March 11, 2011) — Bobby Melton acknowledges that his warehouse wasn't a paragon of organization or efficiency. He's plant director for Sport Supply Group in Farmers Branch, TX, and the company's aggressive growth through acquisitions meant the sporting goods distributor's inventory had outgrown its infrastructure.

Sport Supply Group thought it could solve its space squeeze by moving into a larger location, but the costs were beyond the company's budget. So Sport Supply, decided to upgrade the company's existing DC, a choice that cost about a third as much as moving to a new facility.

"It's what warehousing companies are having to face, which is getting more out of their existing space," says Norm Saenz of TranSystems, the consultant who oversaw the upgrade.

Saenz suggested a number of upgrades. They included items as simple as better lighting in dark replenishment aisles. He also suggested a packing mezzanine to create additional space. The racks also were in line for major improvement, going from a one-level module to three levels, although that upgrade required putting in new racks because the old racks couldn't support second or third levels.

Sport Supply Group's so-called D-line converted from some carton flow rack to shelving, a change that allowed for more pick positions. To address safety and structural issues, Saenz suggested fixing damaged uprights and replacing decking.

Saenz spotted other problems with the warehouse's layout. For instance, the packing line blocked the shipping dock. "They were driving around that whole line to get to the shipping dock," he says.

The result of months of work and a significant investment, Saenz says, is that Sport Supply Group can stay in an existing location and accommodate future growth.

Full details on Sport Supply Group's upgrade appear in the March issue of Distribution Center Management newsletter.

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