State-of-the-Art Distribution Facility Benefits Customers
Aberdeen, Maryland - Northeastern Supply’s continued growth and commitment to benefitting its customers through investment and expansion has resulted in a move of its Central Distribution Center (CDC) to the Advantage Business Park, just off Interstate 95, at 504 Advantage Way, Aberdeen, Maryland, close to its Golden Ring headquarters.
“The new CDC will directly benefit our customers in many ways,” said Northeastern’s President and CEO Steve Cook. “We have planned the facility with technology that will streamline the distribution process and it will result in greater accuracy in getting our product to the customers. Best of all, the added warehouse space allows us to expand the depth and breadth of our product lines.”
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS A KEY
Viewing more than only the move, Northeastern considered the “green” aspect of the new facility, as do many of its customers in their projects. According to Mike Cornbrooks, Vice President of Operations, “We installed 220 – 6-lamp T5 high-bay fluorescent light fixtures with infrared motion detection. The fixture goes off in 10 minutes of no activity, and comes on when you come within 25 feet of the fixture. This equates to big savings in electric usage and lengthens the life of the lamps and ballasts. We also chose to go with no internal combustion engines and went with all electric equipment. The lifts are electric powered, so no carbon emissions are released into the air.
The electric equipment uses new technology such as AC motors and regenerative braking and lowering systems. AC motors run cooler and longer than DC motors, which equates to longer run times, less energy consumption and lower maintenance costs.”
Other engineering choices also increased efficiency. Cornbrooks said, “For greater picking efficiencies, we increased the size of our pick module, which consists of two levels of pallet flow, carton flow, and the shelving and conveyor system. This allowed us to place 60% of our fastest-moving products at our fingertips and move them efficiently from their pick area by conveyor to their pack area, and to the truck. For improved shipping accuracy, each branch now has its own conveyor pack lane so we don’t have to share lanes.”
“We also engineered an additional element of this system with the ability to expand in length and in height to a third level with little interruption to the existing two levels, and the ability to pick and convey product,” Cornbrooks added. “This will allow us to service our customers with a greater product offering and no interruption of service.”
The benefits to the customers are multi-fold. Cornbrooks said, “Moving into the larger space will allow us to stock larger quantities of existing products our customers require. It also gives us the opportunity to expand existing lines or add new lines as needed. We also look forward to adding new branch locations to better serve our customer base.”
‘I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT’
From the final site selection, space planning for offices and warehouse, ordering material and equipment, permitting, installation of systems and inspections, to moving into the new space and maintaining Northeastern’s distribution system of product to 34 branches in five states in just six months, Cornbrooks said, “I still can’t believe it.”
NE’s CEO, Steve Cook summed up the decision and process saying, “I have been asked on numerous occasions, ‘Why, in this economy, would you decide to EXPAND our Distribution Center?’ Well, part of my role is to keep moving the company in the right direction, both in the short term and the long term. This poor economy won’t last forever, and I want to keep Northeastern Supply among the ‘Best of the Best.’ This means looking ahead and putting our company and our people in the best possible position for the future.”
He continued, “It also made some real economic sense, as we were able to move from a 100,000-square-foot facility to a 176,000-square-foot facility for LESS money. We really took advantage of a weak real estate market and we nearly doubled our capacity, upgraded our logistics processes, upgraded our warehouse management systems, improved our customer service levels, charted a solid path for the future of our company and saved money at the same time. That’s not bad, and in the end, it comes down to investing in our future to make sure we are doing all we can to make Northeastern our customers’ preferred supplier.”
Cook added, “We are looking forward to being able to serve our customers even better. The need for, and subsequent construction of, the new CDC, demonstrates the confidence that our customers have in Northeastern. We will continue to do whatever it takes to provide for our customers’ product needs and to continue to earn their business.”