Bobʼs Discount Furniture
272,000-square-foot warehouse addition in Norwich, Connecticut
To expand inventory (furniture) capacity and improve storage safety
Features of New Storage System:
• A total of 1.2 million pounds of rack, most of it of the conventional type
• Reduced furniture handling, resulting in reduced damage
In Norwich, Connecticut, Bob’s Discount Furniture maintains a large storage and distribution center for furniture and bedding, from which approximately 1 million pieces were shipped in 2005. They receive solid containers filled with multiple units of the same product, then store the contents in this warehouse. To ensure the continued growth of the company and provide job security for their 1,500 employees, Bob’s Discount Furniture had been wanting to expand their storage capacity and increase the volume of product handled.There are few people in the Northeast who are not familiar with the Bob’s Discount Furniture TV commercials, featuring furniture with an irresistible combination of quality and low price. On the other hand, there are probably even fewer people who are familiar with the process involved in getting this furniture from the factory to the customer. A description of Maybury Material Handling’s involvement in the recent addition to a Bob’s Discount Furniture facility provides a good deal of insight into the warehouse and distribution operations.
To that end, they have just completed a new 272,000-square-foot warehouse addition. One of the goals of the addition was to move all inventory under one roof. This would reduce furniture handling (reducing, in turn, damage to the furniture); decrease manpower required; and allow for higher profits. Additionally, Bob’s Discount Furniture wanted to improve storage safety and provide a safer environment for their workers. Bob’s Discount Furniture sent all components of the warehouse project out for bid. “We’re shoppers and we put everything out to bid,” says Bob Kaufman, the company’s president. “The price is important, but customer service is just as important to us.” They chose Maybury Material Handling to provide the storage rack and stockpickers for this project because they were impressed by the fact that Maybury offered product, installation and service all under one roof. As Bob put it, “Maybury’s pricing was competitive, but their customer service made the difference.”
Maybury chose Interlake rack for this application. Most of the total of 1.2 million pounds of rack was of the conventional type. However, a set-back section and front post were introduced for additional storage flexibility, safer storage and more cubic density. The Interlake rack is smooth and powder-coated, with recessed decking to minimize sharp edges. This design protects against product damage and makes it easier for operators to put away and retrieve the product. Maybury worked closely with the warehouse designers to ensure that the installed rack accommodated the requirements of the various warehouse areas, resulting in a smooth installation.
Other equipment provided to Bob’s Discount Furniture Warehouse by Maybury included an Advance CAPTOR sweeper/scrubber and a rail-guarded track on which to run it. This sweeper/scrubber has brooms on both sides, and it sweeps and scrubs at the same time. It goes rail-to-rail and automatically performs its tasks. This is a great benefit to the warehouse, since it keeps dust down and any contaminants away from the stockpickers and product. Additionally, its thorough cleaning performance helps to protect workers by reducing dust and allergens. Another product furnished to Bob’s Discount Furniture by Maybury was a Starrco security structure, from which guards can verify authorized entry into and exit out of the compound. This heated and air-conditioned structure has electricity and is environmentally safe. Finally, Maybury provided additional barrier guard rails and safety gating as the facility was completed.Maybury also supplied Bob’s Discount Furniture with 36 stockpickers for the distribution center. The Crown 15SP48TT stockpicker was chosen because it suited the narrow aisle configurations in the application, and its weight and reach capacities met the application’s requirements. Its dependability has been proven through years of in-service use in this type of application. The 15SP48TT’s 4-point design provides the ultimate in stability at the top, boosting operator confidence when moving heavy product at top heights, and therefore increasing efficiency and productivity. Additionally, the size of the platform and the rack configuration leave almost no unsupported areas.
Maybury seamlessly coordinated their efforts with those of the project’s general contractor and lighting, HVAC and sprinkler companies. And, as always, Maybury employed strict safety practices throughout the project. During installation, the supervisor ensured that the area where we were working was free and clear of obstructions and hazards. Steel-toed boots, hard hats, safety glasses and gloves were standard attire. Protection during welding included welding helmets, gloves and safety glasses. For fall protection, scissor lifts with 42″-high guard rails, as well as full-body harnesses with lanyards, were used. The management of Bob’s Discount Furniture appreciated the high level of conscientiousness shown by Maybury. John Fichera, Bob’s warehouse manager, states, “They came back to take care of the little things. I had a lot of ideas about the details of the project, and Maybury figured out how to take care of them.” Likewise, Bob commented on Maybury’s dedication and ingenuity: “Maybury takes pride in their work – they put their heart into it. Their ideas are very innovative, and they have very smooth internal communication and coordination.” Maybury is always enthusiastic about meeting material handling challenges such as those presented by Bob’s Discount Furniture. Let us “come on down” to your facility to discuss your requirements.