• Thomas Russell

Modus shipping from new California warehouse

Facility has greater capacity

LAS VEGAS — Case goods importer Modus Furniture has boosted its domestic warehouse capacity with a 250,000-square-foot leased operation in Fontana, Calif.

The facility, which began shipping in March, replaces five warehouse locations totaling some 150,000 square feet the company occupied in the Los Angeles area.

While Modus saw an 800% increase in volume shipped from the L.A. facilities between 2002 and 2005, the setup presented some logistical difficulties. For example, because of the limited space and dock facilities, the company experienced some stacking damages and some delays in getting the goods out the door.

“Once we reached that point, we decided something had to change,” said Jonathan Richey, company operations manager.

Built in 2001, the newly leased facility has a minimum of 32-foot ceilings and 35 dock doors. It also holds about 1,000 containers of finished goods, compared with a total of 300 at the other facilities.

Modus contracts with a third party logistics provider, Furnigistix, which provides labor and other needs to operate the facility.

The facility utilizes an Enterprise Resource Planning system from Apprise Software. It allows the company to track real time data including inventory, billing and order status based on activity in the warehouse and sales and purchasing areas of the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles.

The system also allows customers and company representative to track orders online.
Since implementing the system, Modus has seen a number of improvements, including reduced handling damages and a reduction in the time it takes to move items from the storage to the staging areas of the warehouse.

And thanks to sales and inventory tracking, the facility can ship most orders the next day. Before, it took at least two to three days to ship many goods because they had to be transported from the stocking warehouse to a distribution facility.

Because most of the company’s business is container-direct, the new facility still only handles about 30% of the company’s shipments. The other goods are shipped through two smaller warehouses in Indonesia and China.

Not all SKUs are available through the warehouse, the company said.

Modus officials expect the facility to accommodate its needs for the duration of the five-year lease, through 2011.

Jay Jewett, the company’s general manager, said the facility allows the company to improve its service.

“The product has been there, the designs have been there and the commitment has been there,” Jewett said. “This will make us excel and bring us to the next level  in dealing with the majors.”

At this month’s Las Vegas Market, Modus Furniture will show in space B-662.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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