V. Suarez Turns to New Warehouse, Pallet Rack System

Nov. 1, 2008
This case history about V. Suarez comes courtesy of Steel King. It has been selected and edited by the MHM editorial staff for clarity, content and style.

This case history about V. Suarez comes courtesy of Steel King. It has been selected and edited by the MHM editorial staff for clarity, content and style.

V. Suarez, the largest food and beverage distributor in Puerto Rico, had outgrown its patchwork of distribution facilities across the island. To enhance customer service, logistical control and process efficiency in delivering 500 brands to 6,000 accounts on $600 million in sales, the company chose to consolidate distribution at a single new facility with a state-of-the-art pallet rack and warehouse management system.

"Consolidating warehouse operations under one roof would allow us to pursue growth," says Wallace Santos Guzman, Vice President of Operations at V. Suarez.

Since fork truck impact can be inevitable in warehouse operations, pallet rack construction and durability were key considerations in the new distribution facility, according to Santos Guzman.

To facilitate the warehouse design and specification process, St. Onge Company, a world-renowned supply chain and engineering consulting firm, was chosen.

V. Suarez and St. Onge Company jointly chose a number of rack offerings from Steel King, a major storage rack designer and manufacturer. Selective rack, push back rack, and drive in rack were chosen, along with decked rack and carton flow rack. Over 100 containers of rack were shipped from the U.S. to Puerto Rico in an exact sequence that mirrored the installers' 8-phase schedule. This helped V. Suarez efficiently move into their new facility on time over a long weekend.

"Since lift trucks can do a lot of rack damage in warehouse operations, we chose to proactively handle the situation," says Jorge Arseda, who oversaw the project as St. Onge's Director of Distribution Practice.

"While both structural and roll formed rack will support pallet weight, structural rack such as Steel King's resists fork truck impacts much better," says Arseda. "That's important for V. Suarez to maintain long-term operational efficiency and avoidance of business disruptions."

Compared to typical racking, the SK3000 pallet rack used, constructed of hot-rolled structural channel column with full horizontal-diagonal bracing, offers greater frame strength, durability and cross-sectional area.

For single deep rack SK2000 pallet rack was used, a boltless, closed tubular upright product by Steel King. Since the rack is powder coated rather than painted with enamel, it's 94% more resistant to chips and scratches.

"The powder coated finish provides a better, longer-lasting surface, more resistant to scratches," says Arseda. "That's important since the new distribution center isn't just a warehouse, but also a display facility. With product properly stored and handled, the new facility should give companies introducing products to Puerto Rico an extra measure of confidence for decades to come."

"St. Onge and Steel King have been a key part of the design and implementation of our new distribution facility," concludes Santos Guzman. "With better logistics, control and inventory management, we've improved our order fill rate and truly become a one-stop solution to our customers."

MHMonline.com welcomes relevant, exclusive case histories that explain in specific detail the business benefits that new software and material-handling equipment has provided to specific users. Send submissions to Mary Aichlmayr([email protected]), MHM Editor. All submissions will be edited for clarity, content and style.