Orgill welcomed hundreds of customers, vendors and local dignitaries to Rome, N.Y., in late July to celebrate, tour and take part in the official ribbon- cutting ceremony marking the grand opening of its newest distribution center.
“We enjoyed the opportunity to have so many of our customers and vendor partners on hand so they could get a firsthand look at the Rome DC, see the investments we are making in our distribution network and have the opportunity to meet our team,” says Boyden Moore, Orgill president and CEO. “This milestone in our growth is only possible because of our customers’ continued growth and our vendor partners’ continued support.”
During the two-day event, Orgill offered guests tours of the new 780,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, hosted a vendor meeting and invited guests to a reception and dinner to thank them for their support.
“We thought it would be nice to combine the grand opening with a bit of a celebration. It’s been such a long time since we’ve had so many of our customers and vendors together in one place,” says Greg Stine, Orgill’s executive vice president of marketing and communications. “It was a lot of fun for all of us to host this event.”
“I think we also need to recognize our team who made this opening happen. They did a fantastic job. We broke ground here in April right when the pandemic started and there was also incredibly high demand for home improvement products that was really stressing the entire distribution network. So, we challenged everyone working on this project and asked if there was any way we could get it done faster than our original schedule, and everyone answered the call,” adds Moore.
In fact, Orgill’s Rome DC was completed faster than any other facility in the company’s modern history. And while those present for the grand opening might not have gotten to witness how the distribution center came together, they were clearly impressed with the end results.
“It was very impressive,” says Jacob Buckingham of Bucks & Bolts Hardware in Blossvale, N.Y., after getting a sneak peek at the new location. “You could see a lot of the thought that was put into everything and the way it was designed and put together to create efficiencies. Just looking at features like the way they used the narrow aisles between the racking to get even more product in the space shows how they thought through every detail.”
Chad Hirschey of Buckingham Hardware in Croghan, N.Y., was equally impressed. “It was obvious as they walked us through everything that they were taking all these years of distribution knowledge and everything they had learned and were designing this facility to use all those insights into how it functions,” he says.
The Rome site is Orgill’s eighth distribution center, joining existing facilities in Tifton, Ga.; Inwood, W.Va.; Sikeston, Mo.; Kilgore, Texas; Post Falls, Idaho; Hurricane, Utah; and London, Ontario.
This facility effectively doubles Orgill’s distribution capacity within the region and will serve customers throughout New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and northeastern Pennsylvania.
In addition to augmenting Orgill’s distribution capacity, the facility will also provide the Mohawk Valley area with more than 225 additional jobs when fully operational. This economic benefit was mentioned several times during the official ribbon-cutting events.
Among the local and regional officials on hand for the ceremony were: New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul; Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo; Shawna Papale from Mohawk Valley EDGE; and John Calabrese from the Rome Chamber of Commerce.
“This is an exciting day. Thank you for having faith in us. Thank you for identifying this magnificent part of our state and realizing what most of us who are New Yorkers have known all along: When you come to the Mohawk Valley, you come to a region that has a strong legacy of being productive and building,” Hochul said during the grand opening ceremony. “We are so excited you are here because we know what things are like when it’s not so great, and the workforce that you are going to assemble, and have assembled—I guarantee, they are second to none. It’s in their DNA to work hard and to be loyal to their employer and to talk about this community as part of their family as well.”
Mark Scanlon, Orgill’s vice president of Northeast distribution, echoed the Lieutenant Governor’s thoughts on the area and the quality of its workforce and says the facility and its team will play an integral role in helping improve Orgill’s entire distribution network capacity.
“We have been able to hire a great team of managers and supervisors that bring a lot of experience in distribution, transportation and warehouse management to our team,” Scanlon says. “When you combine the added capacity that Rome brings to our distribution network, the leading-edge best practices we built into the DC and the high-caliber team members we have brought in, the bottom line is that Orgill will be better able to serve its customers.”
Of the employees working out of the Rome facility, there will be at least one “first” for Orgill, with the distributor creating a new role for tech support at the facility, according to Randy Williams, Orgill’s executive vice president of distribution.
“This role is new to our company but so important in our overall operations,” Williams says. “They will ensure that the facility finds ways to use technology to enhance the overall operations and interactions with customers. The creation of this position is an important step for us as we continue to look for ways we can harness technology through all aspects of our operation to create efficiencies, improve customer service and better fulfill our mission.”
Other innovations in distribution technology and design that Orgill showcased during the grand opening ceremony included the latest in voice picking systems, a space-maximizing very-narrow aisle (VNA) layout and a new, multi-tiered conveyor system.
All of these features are designed to create efficiencies for the distribution team and ultimately reduce friction in receiving, picking and fulfilling customer orders, according to Williams.
“Technology, innovation and capacity are all factors that drive our distribution efficiencies at a facility like Rome, but ultimately, all of these investments are designed to help us better serve our customers and help them make their businesses more successful,” Williams says.
The opening of the Rome distribution center is just the latest step in Orgill’s commitment to expand and enhance its distribution capabilities to stay ahead of customer demand. In March, Orgill announced plans to nearly double the size of its distribution center in Hurricane, Utah. The plans in Hurricane call for the addition of more than 425,000 square feet of under-roof storage at the facility as well as several projects designed to improve workflow.
“Effective and efficient distribution of products is at the heart of what we do and it is core to how we deliver on our mission to help our customers be successful,” Moore says.