“Reading tools” marketer Levenger operates its 180,000-sq.-ft. distribution center, its store, its corporate offices, and its catalog all on one site in Delray Beach, FL. The warehouse handles two types of merchandise: “slapper” product, which is ready to sell, and customized product, which is specially designed or monogrammed. Company president Steven Leveen notes that the seven-year-old distribution center (Levenger’s second facility since 1989) is divided into three subsections: the slapper section, the shipping section, and the packing and assembly warehouse, which also houses receiving and returns. The distribution center doubled in size from 90,000 sq. ft. in 1994 to 180,000 sq. ft. in 1997. Though the company doesn’t manufacture out of its Florida facility, Levenger’s 100 distribution center employees (200 during the holiday season) customize and repackage product onsite.
Below, the particulars of the Levenger facility.
Number of distribution center employees: 100
(200 during the holiday season)
Number of SKUs: 15,000 (fewer in summer months)
SKU capacity: 25,000
Average number of items in stock at a given time: 200,000 (less in summer)
Record orders filled in a day: 7,800
Record shipments sent in a week: 25,000
Average number of order calls a day: 5,000
Busiest season: 40% of merchandise is shipped between October and December.
Number of loading dock doors: 11 (five for shipping, six for receiving)
How far a picker walks during a typical day: Six to eight miles
How items are processed in the distribution center: Each station has a small computer to which bar codes are matched from item to order.
Conveyor belt length: Three belts at 50 ft. each feed into the 200-ft. main conveyor belt (total length is 350 ft.)
Shipping goal: 90%-plus shipped in 24-hour period
Management software program: Smith-Gardner Web order system
Biggest boast: Levenger accepts any returned product — even monogrammed or customized items.
Return rates: 8%-11%
Biggest obstacle: Gift-wrapping and personalizing product slows down production
Company claim: It’s on the “leading edge of low-tech.”