ScottsMiracle-Gro Adopts a Greener Distribution Model

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s operation in Lebanon, Conn. plans to add a 100,000-sq. ft. warehouse to service its home center retail customers in northeastern U.S. By installing a warehouse in this region, the company expects to improve its environmental footprint by reducing the number of miles traveled within its distribution network while also reducing costs and improving its customer service levels.

The warehouse is part of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s high-service distribution model that the company began implementing across the U.S. in 2009. Construction of the warehouse is scheduled to be completed in early 2012. The company currently employs 40 associates in Lebanon, a number that is expected to increase modestly with the warehouse addition.

“We are excited to extend our improved distribution model to the Northeast because it will provide quicker service to our large retailers and benefit consumers in this key market,” says Dave Swihart, senior vice president, global supply chain, ScottsMiracle-Gro. “In our operations, we are striving to reduce our environmental footprint, and this distribution model is a significant contributor to that objective. This effort reinforces our belief that we can simultaneously grow our business in a way that supports our commitment to becoming a more sustainable company.”

Since 2009, when ScottsMiracle-Gro began implementing its new distribution model, the company has reduced the number of miles traveled to ship products to home center customers by approximately one-third. This translates into an annual decrease of 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel, keeping more than 500 tons of carbon emissions a year out of the atmosphere.

ScottsMiracle-Gro is consolidating the warehousing and distribution of its bagged products that are shipped to home center stores. This consolidation is occurring by placing warehouse facilities at existing locations, such as Lebanon, Conn. Previously, bagged lawn fertilizer products were shipped from third-party warehouses, while bagged growing media – potting mixes, soils and mulches – were distributed directly from ScottsMiracle-Gro’s operations that produce the growing media.

By consolidating the shipment of bagged fertilizer and growing media goods into regional on-site warehouses, the company has been able to:
● Maximize truckload space, reducing overall delivered mileage and transportation costs.
● Improve inventory turns at retail by reducing fertilizer order minimums.
● Reduce overall operating costs by having the warehouse space connected to the company’s existing low-cost infrastructure.
● Create a regional distribution network that puts ScottsMiracle-Gro’s lawn and garden products closer to the retailers for faster delivery and improved customer service.

“We have improved our order cycle time by one day, and we have also increased our peak shipping capacity in the locations we converted to this model since 2009,” Swihart says.

ScottsMiracle-Gro currently has warehouses connected to operations for the co-distribution of fertilizer with growing media products at 16 locations in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Through these facilities, the company serves approximately two-thirds of its home center retailers and plans to continue rolling out this distribution system over the next few years.

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