In a bid to consolidate their Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia operations Empire Distributors, Inc. recently replaced their Augusta warehouse with the truck based Warehouse on Wheels System by Demountable Concepts, Inc. of Glassboro, New Jersey.
After considering a number of consolidation strategies Empire chose the Warehouse on Wheels truck body mounting and demounting system because it presented a simple, efficient and dependable way to service their regional markets. From a cost cutting standpoint the system enabled Empire to replace the entire Augusta operation with a paved lot that functions as a staging area where trucks mount and demount bodies.
Warehouse on Wheels is changing the way wine and spirits are distributed Empire’s implementation of Warehouse on Wheels comes on the heels of Republic National Distributing Company’s consolidation of three Virginia warehouses into one; Olinger Distributing Company’s three into one warehouse consolidation in Indiana; and Georgia Crown Distributing Company’s consolidation of five warehouses into one. These companies represent a shift in the way wine and spirits are distributed.
“Over the years furniture retailers, building supply companies and a growing number of beverage distributors have implemented Warehouse on Wheels to consolidate brick and mortar distribution centers. The system boosts cash flow by eliminating warehouses and their associated costs. It also drives long term savings on inventory, labor, diesel fuel and other expenses while simultaneously improving customer service through increased efficiency.” says Rustin Cassway, president of Demountable Concepts, Inc.
Warehouse on Wheels facilitates the centralization of inventory which eliminates redundant functions throughout the company. Empire now shuttles multiple preloaded truck bodies on semi-trailers from their central warehouse in Atlanta Georgia to the staging area in Augusta. The bodies are then demounted from the semi-trailers and mounted by locally operated straight delivery trucks that make deliveries to retail locations. The semi-trailers return to Atlanta with the empty bodies from the previous round of deliveries for reloading.
Closing the Augusta location eliminated its costs and created additional savings throughout Empire’s organization because man hours and capital were no longer necessary to coordinate and track products transported from Atlanta to the Augusta warehouse.
Centralizing inventory in Atlanta eliminated redundant functions such as order processing, loading product and tracking inventory and simplified Empire’s distribution model by creating a direct link between the retail locations and the central warehouse in Atlanta. Orders are now trucked directly from the central warehouse to the retail location in the same cargo body which minimizes handling and reduces breakage and wrong or late orders.
In Augusta sales increased because the stores gained direct access to the wider selection of inventory available in Atlanta. Warehouse on Wheels also made next day delivery possible for an array of point of sale items that used to take much longer to procure.
By making regional distribution easier to manage Warehouse on Wheels shifts the operation’s focus to increasing sales Warehouse on Wheels gave Empire’s management the direct control necessary to manage and grow the revenue of a regional market more than 150 miles away from their central warehouse. Since it’s truck-based, it can also be rolled out quickly in the future to access new markets.
Eric Mehok, Director of Operations for Empire, Atlanta sums up the positive change this way, “With Warehouse on Wheels our distribution efforts in Augusta have definitely become more efficient. Our central warehouse in Atlanta now has sole control and accountability for operations, which gives us a more focused way to grow sales in Augusta by offering a wider selection of products and providing superior customer service.”
Empire did have some customers who were apprehensive about the switch to Warehouse on Wheels. But to date, orders and customer satisfaction have increased and those customers report that implementation felt seamless because the same local driver still delivers their wine and spirits. Drivers benefit too. Instead of waiting while their trucks are loaded at the warehouse; they now pick up a fully loaded cargo body at the staging area which takes only minutes. The drivers now have additional time to increase sales by educating clients about new products.
Warehouse on Wheels consists of three basic components
Demountable cargo bodies which can be transported on both semi-trailers and straight trucks. Each body stands independently on retractable legs and can be quickly “swapped” between trucks. The free-standing bodies can be loaded separately from the truck which saves time.
Straight delivery trucks equipped with an elevating chassis lift and body lock-down system for quickly mounting and demounting cargo bodies. To mount a cargo body the chassis-lift is backed under the body and raised to meet its underside. The driver then retracts the legs, lowers the body and locks it to the chassis for the duration of the route.
A semi-trailer with an elevating lift and lock-down system for mounting up to four demountable cargo bodies and shuttling them between the central warehouse and staging area.
Established in 1989, Demountable Concepts, Inc. is North America’s premier manufacturer and supplier of Warehouse on Wheels and “Swap-Body” straight-truck delivery systems. They have a network of installation and service centers throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.