|STL Distribution moves to new facility|
|Written by Eric Tiansay|
|Thursday, 24 September 2009 09:39 AM America/New_York|
Relocation will allow key distributor to 'handle future growth'
STL Distribution North America has consolidated its four warehouses, moving to new facility in order to increase space and improve shipping efficiency for the nonprofit distributor.
According to company officials, 110 employees along with 275 volunteers moved 65,000 SKUs of inventory as well as truckloads of office furniture, fixtures, files, machinery and equipment to the new offices and warehouse at 100 Biblica Way in Elizabethton, Tenn., in early September.
Formerly Appalachian Distributors, STL Distribution North America has been operating in Johnson City, Tenn., since 1973. The company had three warehouses and rented an additional off-site warehouse in 2007 due to lack of space.
"It has been very difficult to operate out of multiple warehouses for 36 years," said STL Senior Vice President and Chief Distribution and Logistic Officer Robbie Edgar, the first employee ever hired by Appalachian Distributors founder Tom Torbett. "We were constantly moving product from one place to another. … With our guarantee of same-day shipping, it was often quite frenzied by mid-afternoon."
"With the new facility, there will be no delays waiting for stock to be moved around from one to another building or picked up from an off-site warehouse," continued Edgar, noting that the new warehouse was originally built as a book distribution center. "(It's) perfectly suited for our business."
STL President Glenn Bailey added that the Labor Day weekend move "will give us two-and-a-half times as much storage capacity. Plus, there is enough room on the property that we could add more square footage in the future as needed."
A ministry of Biblica, formerly IBS-STL Global, STL has grown more than 12% in the last year, experiencing growth for the past 10 months.
"We are extremely pleased with this growth in light of the tough economic downturns many companies are facing," he added. "For over 30 years, this company has almost constantly operated at the limit of its facilities. For the first time in our history, we will be able to really handle future growth in our business."
The volunteers for the weekend move came from area churches and local civic organizations as well as students from East Tennessee State University.
"We accomplished a monumental task," Bailey said. "We successfully relocated 750 tons of inventory, shelving, office equipment, files, fixtures and equipment from three different warehouses and offices—a distance of almost 13 miles in just three days.
"Our goal was to have no interruption in our ability to serve our stores," he added. "The day after a holiday is always a very big one for us."