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Ryder System Inc. opened its third multiclient omnichannel distribution center in Columbus, Ohio, the company announced April 25.
The Ryder E-Commerce by Whiplash service was started earlier in the year as a distribution platform focused on clients with online shipments. The Columbus facility will be the first to open in the area under the new supply chain offering. Ryder also sees the region as being key for e-commerce fulfillment.
“You’ve got a more competitive square footage rate or real estate costs,” Steve Sensing, president of global supply chain solutions at Ryder, told Transport Topics.
“There are advantages with labor availability in that market as well as rates versus a Northeast location or a Southern Cal location,” he added. “I think probably most important for our customers, from this location you can reach a little over 50% of the population in a 10-hour truck drive.”
Ryder noted the facility is the largest e-commerce distribution center it operates in the area at nearly 440,000 square feet. The site features 42 cross-dock positions, 99 trailer spaces and offers a full range of logistics services. It also includes automation enhancements such as robot-assisted order picking.
“In the e-commerce race, the fastest and most agile win,” said Jeff Wolpov, senior vice president of Ryder E-Commerce by Whiplash. “This new facility is well-positioned to address the growing need for e-commerce distribution from the Midwest region to U.S. retailers and consumers across the U.S. with fast, cost-effective fulfillment and ground services. With three multiclient warehouses now in the Columbus area, we’re ideally situated to serve established and emerging brands.”
Ryder now operates 22 multiclient and dedicated e-commerce facilities across the country. It also plans to open a 678,000-square-foot facility in Atlanta later this year. The facility will have easy access to extensive highway and railroad networks.
“The Atlanta footprint really helps us to reach further south,” Sensing said. “We’ve got a growing presence in the state of Texas as well. And then prior to the acquisition, Whiplash had acquired a small e-fulfillment company in Salt Lake City, which is attractive as well.”
Whiplash was a national provider of scalable e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment solutions that was acquired for $480 million. Ryder has been working to leverage its capabilities, which the new facility does by allowing for better nationwide access. It also aligns with its broader strategy to help its clients get increasingly closer to the end consumer and improve their speed.
Edikted is an online fashion brand that will be one of the clients operating out of the new facility.
“The technical integration was seamless and straightforward, and the onboarding process was very professional,” Edikted co-founder Zvika Alon said. “Meeting our deadline was crucial, as well as moving inventory in a way that didn’t cost sales. If we had pushed back a week it would’ve been a disaster for us, so the fact our deadline was met was amazing.”
Ryder expects to recruit about 250 workers to fill a variety of positions to support the new distribution center. That includes warehouse associates, engineers, leadership, and management and support roles.
“Jeff and the team had done a great job in selling into these buildings,” Sensing said. “They’ve got a pipeline of customers that are ready to move in. And then we also have the flexibility that if we don’t fill it up, I can pop a big and bulky customer into that same building. So, we’ve got a lot of flexibility, and I think it drives a lot of value for us.”
Sensing added e-fulfillment and multiclient warehousing work well together because they don’t have to be as close to the end customer compared with a big and bulky final-mile business. He also suspects there are going to be more multifunctional warehouse openings going forward.
Ryder Supply Chain Solutions ranks No. 11 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America. It is No. 13 on the TT Top 100 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.
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