United Warehouse Leans Toward Efficiency

More and more, companies rely on lean logistics to cut costs and grow efficiency.
Whether it is a manufacturing concern, a retail or food and beverage operation, businesses use logistics companies like United Warehouse to remove waste from the supply chain, said Bob Kroblin, head of business development at United Warehouse Co., 11324 E. Apache St.
“What we are doing is not rocket science,” Kroblin said. “We do the grunt work.”
Managing inventory and distribution frees manufacturers to focus on sales. United inventories the product, stores it and distributes it for the customer.
“Lean logistics allows our customers to do what they do best,” Kroblin said. “It fits into the lean manufacturing concept,” he said.

Lean But Not Mean
Lean logistics removes excess inventory, which is considered “waste.” It is the same with excess time and the cost it takes to maintain that inventory, Kroblin said.
Supply chains are meant to pull, not push, inventory.
Repackaging is a growing segment of the business because companies outsource the inventory, storage and distribution function to companies like UWC.
Packaging and re-packaging has become an offshoot of lean logistics, he said.
“It becomes a value-added service,” Kroblin said.
With more companies outsourcing their logistics, packaging and repackaging has mushroomed, Kroblin said.
Whether it is paper products, a cookie company or food and beverage business, United offers inventory management solutions, he said.
Repackaging means taking a product in 24 packs, breaking it down to six, four-pack units and inserting that into a display, Kroblin said.
“We build the display here and ship it directly to the site,” he said. “They want to open the display and begin selling immediately.”
United’s warehouse management system is able to store spare parts and ship them on a moment’s notice.
Another service is “Airplane on Ground,” or AOG.
“It allows personnel to collect the part from a bin, get it on an airplane and within hours, the part will be delivered to the disabled plane — anywhere,” Kroblin said.
United’s management system allows for scanning, bar coding and 24/7 inventory management.
United, as a private company, does not release financial figures.

United, based in Wichita, first began operations in Tulsa during the mid-1990s.
“We were attracted to the Tulsa market because the economic climate was good,” Kroblin said. Some of the first customers were General Electric, Rubbermaid and Whirlpool.
Although Dallas and Kansas City markets are larger and provide a hub for logistics needs, Tulsa remains a good market, Kroblin said.
“A lot of customers in Tulsa need the same things they do in larger cities,” he said.
United has a niche in this market because it is more efficient for companies to store things close.
The company spent $11 million on two warehouse facilities that total 656,000 SF on Apache and North Garnett Road about four years ago. United has since added a 100,000-SF facility across Apache, to the north of its main warehouse and recently leased another 200,290 SF at the Crossroads Distribution Center. The former Fleming/Albertson’s facility is at 420 S. 145th East Ave.
With 30 full-time employees and up to 90 temporary workers, the facility operates 24/7. ?

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