Photo by Al Stover
The Odom Corporation, a wholesale beverage distribution company, had an open house, Sept. 19, for their new facility at 5810 W. Thorpe Road.
Based in Alaska, Odom carries several lines of soft drinks, beers and wines and supplies them to restaurants, bars and supermarkets. It has facilities throughout Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
Construction on the building started over a year ago with The Design Group, out of Boston, acting as the general contractor and designers for the building. According to Tim Crabb, regional delivery manager, The Design Group used local labor to complete the project. He added that all of the machinery in the facility runs on electricity and the building qualifies for Green standards.
Crabb explained that the premise of the new warehouse is to have inbound trucks go through a one-way loop.
“Once we get our signage up, every inbound truck will come through one entrance, circle all the way around and leave through the other entrance,” Crabb said. “Inbound is northwest and outbound is southeast and all of the product just moves across the floor.”
In the dock area, there are three overhead radiant heaters to keep drivers and crew out of the weather. Side-loader keg trucks, which mostly serve taverns, will drive onto the dock. The warehouse crew will remove empty kegs, product and strip the truck out, then pick the orders for the next day and load the truck. Next to the side loader dock, there are several loading bays for rear-loading trucks. The night crew, on sleds, picks up the orders they receive over headsets. He added that the building is set up to be expandable.
Crabb said the West Plains location does 44 routes to outlying markets every night: 23 routes out of the local market, eight routes out of the Tri-Cities, Yakima and Walla Walla area, seven for Wenatchee and six routes for Moses Lake.
The warehouse also has a floor dock for the shuttle routes. As the night crew picks outlying routes, they load the orders into shuttle trucks while drivers leave for the outlying locations.
“The shuttle trucks leave at 7-8 p.m. and drop it at cross-dock warehouses where they put the product on the floor,” Crabb said. “That product is reloaded onto the delivery trucks and taken out in the morning. This is so you don’t have to have fully-inventoried warehouses in those other locations.”
For shipments coming into the warehouse, drivers will come to the receiving office, give the crew the paperwork and wait in the lounging area. Crews return the paperwork to the drivers and send them back out.
“Drivers are not on the floor or in the offices,” Crabb said. “It’s just a separation of who has access to where.”
In addition to the warehouse, the building also has several meeting rooms for training, video conferences and webinars.
Since moving into the new building back in July, Crabb said that every bit of the corporation’s operation is running more efficient. On the weekend of July 18-20, crews moved 400,000 cases of beer.
“The loading and staging is more efficient,” Crabb said. “Pickers efficiency has gone up because they have more room to maneuver. The night crew is picking with fewer bodies then they need as has the day crew. This upgrade has paid huge dividends.”
Crabb said that John Odom, president and CEO of the company, is not shy to expand when it comes to a good opportunity.
“He’s running a very well-oiled machine,” Crabb said. “When the next one comes along, John (Odom) will make the move and we have the right building that can handle it.”