New Distribution Center Maximizes Product Flexibility and Flow with Span-Track Wheel Beds
When Cutter & Buck decided to add a new distribution center in Canada, company leaders set out to create a fast, efficient and technologically savvy facility to service Canadian customers. “We wanted something fresh and innovative, because that’s the type of brand we are,” says Mark Alexander, Operations Manager, Cutter & Buck, Canada.When Cutter & Buck decided to add a new distribution center in Canada, company leaders set out to create a fast, efficient and technologically savvy facility to service Canadian customers. “We wanted something fresh and innovative, because that’s the type of brand we are,” says Mark Alexander, Operations Manager, Cutter & Buck, Canada.
The center opened in Brampton, Ontario, in October 2017, fully equipped with state-of-the-art systems that allow a lean staff to pick from 1 million golf shirts, hoodies, rain jackets and other items across 25,000 distinct pick locations.
More than 4,000 Span-Track wheel beds help keep the high-tech operation wrinkle-free.
The Wow Factor
The high-ceilinged, 75,000-square-foot Brampton distribution center is near the Toronto Pearson International Airport, an ideal location for Cutter & Buck. Hundreds of customers have businesses within a 30-mile radius of the center. It’s not uncommon for customers to stop by and pick up their products for corporate outings, sales meetings, college events and more. They often want a tour of the impressive facility.
“When customers walk into the distribution center, the first things they see are the UNEX racks going up 30 feet and extending from one end to the next,” says Mark. “It’s a jaw-dropping experience for them. They always talk about how everything is extremely organized and clean. And that’s important, because it reflects our commitment to delivering the optimal experience.”
Each day, a small core team of Cutter & Buck employees pick, pack and ship multitudes of orders to Canadian customers. “We are exceeding performance expectations, largely because of the efficient systems we have in place,” says Mark. “The wheel beds are a big part of that picture.”
Buttoned Up and Ready to Grow
The Span-Track wheel beds are located in 42,000 square feet of the distribution center. The additional 33,000 square feet is slated for future growth of the Cutter & Buck business.
“The wheel beds maximize our warehouse space and give us lots of flexibility,” says Mark. “In fact, with the wheel beds and our other efficient systems, we could double our business without having to double the space footprint.”
Whether the Cutter & Buck team is adding new products or replenishing existing ones, Mark adds that Span-Track helps keep the operation flowing. “It’s easy to replenish products from the back side. And when we do inventory, we don’t have to shut down the operations twice a year. Everything is well-organized and easy to count, so we can keep track of inventory on a daily basis without disrupting the pick.”
The Right Fit
The distributor who recommended Span-Track says the solution was just the right fit for Cutter & Buck. “The wheel beds are well-engineered. They are strong, durable, reliable and easy to install,” says Ross Shepherd with 3D Storage Solutions Limited.
He adds that an additional benefit is working with UNEX. “It’s a worry-free experience. And that’s important for companies like 3D Storage Solutions and Cutter & Buck. We need efficiency in our operations so that we can focus on growth.”
Creating the Best Place to Work
Cutter & Buck was founded in 1989 in Seattle, Washington. Like the current Seattle location, the Brampton operation must compete with a number of major distribution centers for employees, such as Coca-Cola and Amazon.
“Recruiting an exceptional staff can be a challenge,” explains Mark. “We want to attract great team members and keep them for the long term. Anything we can do to improve the work experience will help us compete for talent.”
State-of-the art systems, including one of the industry’s most advanced order-picking trucks, help make Cutter & Buck a great place to work.
“The UNEX racking system helps us create a more efficient, accurate and safer pick environment than a traditional setting. New employees see that, and it gives us a competitive advantage,” says Mark.
With the big boost in pick rates provided by Span-Track wheel beds, Cutter & Buck has the tools in place go above and beyond its performance goals. Studies show that pick rates jump by up to 150% with Span-Track wheel beds compared to traditional pallet picks.
Overall, the company’s strategy to create a high-tech, high-performing distribution center is working well.
“We are exceeding our original targets for the new center and will plan to expand two to three years sooner than expected,” says Mark. “The UNEX racking has played an important role in helping us achieve aggressive targets.”
Distributor: 3D Storage Solutions