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In DC Design, Don’t Forget Insurance

Consultant urges distribution center and warehouse managers to start thinking about the little details at the same time that they start contemplating the big decisions of when and where to build a new DC.

(Boonton, NJ, April 4, 2014) — At the 360,000-square-foot DC that supplies Sheetz convenience stores, there’s a permanent concrete mezzanine where fast- moving product is stored.

Darrin Pohar, vice president of distribution at Sheetz, says that it’s not the most efficient set-up. And it’s an arrangement that won’t be repeated at Sheetz’s new 250,000-square-foot facility in Burlington, NC.

The company defined its process flow before deciding where walls would go. That means no permanent mezzanine, an uninterrupted conveyor flow, and a more streamlined operation for moving goods to Sheetz’s growing roster of stores.

“We wanted something that we could adapt and expand as we grow from 100 stores to 400 stores,” Pohar says. “We tried to keep everything as simple and flexible as possible.”

Sheetz’s material handling systems integrator is TriFactor, and chief operating officer J.J. Phelan urges his clients to start thinking about the little details of racks, conveyors, and sprinklers at the same time that they start contemplating the big decisions of when and where to build a new DC.

He even advises them to consider what might appear to be unrelated issues such as insurance.

Insurance premiums depend on the amount of inventory, the commodity classification of the inventory, and the ways the inventory is stored, he says. These factors can play a major role in storage system design and in turn overall DC design.

Additional design considerations appear in the April issue of Distribution Center Management.

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