Distributors tour each other’s DCs

An event organized by the PRO Group from April 24 to 26 brought together 25 distributors from around the country to tour two warehouse facilities and share new developments in distribution operations.

The tours took place at Reiss Wholesale Hardware Co., Inc. in Brooklyn, N.Y., and R3 Redistribution – Metro South in Perth Amboy, N.J. Both distributors are affiliated with PRO Group, Inc.

Paul Reiss, who is president of Reiss Wholesale Hardware Co., led the group through his 66,000-sq.-ft. distribution center, which features a narrow aisle system in order to maximize space. The warehouse uses Raymond Narrow Aisle equipment, which is made in the United States.

Reiss noted that past DC workshops at other facilities convinced him to adopt a number of efficiency changes, including radio frequency technology and an upgrade to energy-efficient T5 lighting, which operates on a motion sensor system.

The April 26 tour was scheduled for the R3 warehouse in New Jersey -- a 132,000-sq.-ft. distribution center with more than 20 doors and 5,000 SKUs. "Everyone does something better than you do, so that's always interesting to see,” Reiss said. “You can't always implement new ideas right away, but seeing it in operation is a lot more beneficial for us than reading about it.”

In addition to the tours, the PRO Group’s Distribution Center Workshop gives attendees an opportunity to network during hosted dinners while learning about the latest developments in warehouse operations and sharing best practices. Roundtable discussions during the workshop included topics such as quarterly operations benchmark reports, how to utilize cube and weight with the warehouse management system, incentive pay/programs for individuals in the warehouse, and other operations related processes.

Shari Kalbach, managing director for PRO Group, said the DC Workshop gives distributor personnel who do not often get out of their distributor centers a chance to interact with others in their industry. "Our distributors don't always have the opportunity to see the changes others are making to improve operations," Kalbach said. “The Distribution Center Workshop offers a window into these other businesses, and an open invitation to discuss changes, challenges and personal victories.”