Our First Distribution Center - Part Three

Larry in front of Perfect Pick Station
The heart of our picking operation is this “goods to person” automated storage and retrieval system. 80% of our orders need one or more products from this system.

Part One and Two, of this Short Story (SS #267 and SS #281), presented the construction of the new building - from groundbreaking to finished floor; but without the equipment; Part Three is the fully-operational Distribution Center - from unloading of inbound trucks to the loading of the outbound packages. Equipment installation and testing timeframe, March 21 of 2021 through June 1 of 2022 - nearly 15 months.

From North Mezzanine, looking south
A good perspective, from the north mezzanine, looking south into 400,000 sq. ft. A small part of the 3.5-mile conveyor system runs in the foreground.

Since we had installed the original Nitro Express System in 2010, at our old warehouse, and expanded it significantly in 2016, it seemed logical to choose the term Nitro Express 3.0 as the working name for this completely new logistics system - designed as a state-of-the art upgrade from the original Nitro system that had served our Customers well, for so many years.
The dream, that started many years before groundbreaking on 18 May 2020, is now complete. June 1, 2022 is the date that Nitro Express 3.0 was certified as meeting all our Key

Box Making Machine
For improved efficiency, we now make a specific box, in house, for many orders; then pick directly into the box, rather than picking to a tote and transferring to a box.

Requirements. It has created capacity and efficiency that will continue to serve our Customers for many years, and it’s designed to be easily expandable, as the MidwayUSA business continues to grow - with new products and new Customers. Feature wise, the main, closed loop conveyor is 3.5 miles long, the goods-person stocking/picking area contains 180,000 stocking locations, and the system is designed to ship over 25,000 orders per day, packaged in three different areas of the plant.
Throughout the 45-year history of MidwayUSA, our warehouse/shipping

Robotic Forklift
This is one of several totally robotic forklifts, that do routine pallet and cart movement around the distribution center.

department, like the rest of the business, has always been focused on satisfying our Customers. It’s not complicated; many of us are Customers too! Products should be “in stock;” orders should be shipped right away and arrive quickly, correctly and in good shape. A company’s Distribution Center is a critical element, in providing for product selection (more space) and fast shipping (new technology/equipment) as the business grows. Notwithstanding the new facility and equipment, naturally, our Employees

Cohesive Mailer
Many orders go out in padded mailers, which are produced and labeled on the same machine.

are even more important. They work many long hours each day to receive the products from our suppliers and put them away; then pick, pack and ship the orders out the door.
Nitro Express 3.0; it’s the second major improvement from the original Nitro Express shipping system we had installed in 2010, and our 5th generation logistics system since starting in business, back in 1977. The total timeframe for the fully-operational Distribution Center, from start to finish, was 25 months.

UPS Trailer
This extendable, elevatable conveyor allows us to do a nearly-perfect job of stacking boxes in the UPS trailer, to help ensure they get to our Customers in good shape.