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Today's Warehouses Play a New Role

Posted on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 @ 09:28 AM

Warehouses are no longer just for storage. In today's cost-conscious, efficiency-driven environment, many manufacturers are reevaluating their definition of warehousing. Anything that doesn't lend itself to a high-speed, highly mechanized, low-labor environment is being sent to the warehouse.

Driving this evolution is a desire to take links out of the supply chain and make sure that costs are optimized and as close to the customer as possible.


As a result of this shift, manufacturers are gradually expanding the services they expect from their warehousing providers, seeking ways to increase flexibility, improve inventory control, manage costs, and streamline the supply chain.

Three services, in particular, are drawing considerable interest:

Shared space environment. Companies with dramatic seasonal or promotional fluctuations face unique warehousing challenges. They don't want to invest in space that they can't fill year-round, but they must accommodate business surges. A shared space environment accommodates shipping peaks and valleys by balancing multiple manufacturers' requirements with complementary surges.  

To manage this arrangement, a third-party provider analyzes shippers' space requirements and identifies peak periods of activity. Shippers with peaks at opposite times of the year can be paired in a single facility. For example, a sunscreen manufacturer might be paired with a holiday gift basket company.

The companies' operations are located at opposite ends of the building and ebb and flow toward the middle as required. Both companies are guaranteed additional overflow space, but only pay for the space as they need it. They're able to meet maximum requirements and accommodate business growth without having to invest in permanent space and equipment. Locating the facility in an optimal location also helps minimize transportation costs and maximize responsiveness to customer needs.

Cross-docking. As manufacturers seek ways to move products more efficiently and cost-effectively, many are rediscovering cross-docking -- moving product directly from receiving to shipping with little or no inventory and minimal handling. The process is resurfacing as a way to take costs out of the supply chain, accelerate inventory velocity, and improve service levels.  

While historically used for durable goods, high turn rates and reduced handling make cross-docking an effective solution for everything from perishable products to high-value/high-security goods. The process helps get product to market quickly and economically while reducing the need for warehouse space and inventory carry costs.

Many companies are exploring variations on traditional, "pure" cross-docking, integrating transportation strategies such as consolidation and deconsolidation to maximize savings. For example, a company may receive inbound loads daily but ship out just twice a week, reducing transportation spend while making deliveries that meet end-user requirements.


Many manufacturers are recognizing that 3PLs are often better positioned than their own internal operations to adapt to the expanded warehouse role.

Experienced 3PLs offer convenient facilities with a skilled workforce, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and established systems and processes for peak performance. Because warehousing, packaging, and transportation operations take place under a single roof, communication and planning improve, helping to ensure performance quality and timeliness. Effective 3PLs also routinely review forecasting, scheduling, processes, equipment and other variables, looking for opportunities for improvement.

Demand for specialized warehouse services will climb for the foreseeable future as manufacturers intensify their focus on core competencies. Fortunately, third-party providers can provide innovative, flexible solutions to help streamline their supply chains, increase flexibility, and better manage costs.


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Tags: Chicago Public Warehouses, Cross Docking Warehouse

Public Warehouse Distribution - Chicago

Posted on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 @ 14:22 PM

Chicago Public WarehouseNeill Cartage and Warehouse is Chicago's premier full service logistics, warehousing, and distribution company.  Servicing the Midwest since 1946. 


It is important to select a public warehouse that is geographically located where transport accessibility is available. The transportation methods, such as road, rail, air, or ship should be located in near proximity to the warehouse in order to make it easy to distribute the needed products to their destinations. For a warehouse that is responsible for international exports, good locations would include a nearby airport or port.

The staff employed by at public warehouse is trained to prepare the goods for distribution to the necessary destination. This includes the inventory, packing, loading, and transporting of these materials. The steps vary according to the final location of the transport. For example, products that are going to a foreign place must be carefully packed with not only shipping invoices, but also customs declarations and necessary documentation. However, the shipping process is a lot less complex when dealing with national distribution, because the international regulations do not exist. Whatever the destination location, distribution is sometimes a 2 or 3 step process, which sometimes involves road and air or ship methods, and frequently all 3 means of transportation.

The processes of accurate inventory data are essential so that the goods being distributed and/ or transported will be executed precisely. If a public warehouse is not exact when recording inventory, then the distribution of the material may not be correct and the end results, pertaining to the customer, will be negative and/ or unsuccessful. All of the distribution costs are included in the contractual fees that the warehouse initially charges the company. In this way, the public warehouse does, indeed, have a say in the success of a company’s chain supply.

Truck drivers that distribute goods on a national/local level are employees of the warehouse and assume the responsibility for the delivering of the products in “A -1” condition. This is another instance where the insurance would kick in if the goods were damaged upon delivery.

Finally, it is good to remember that distribution is the last step that a public warehouse must complete in regard to its commitments, thus affecting the supply chain process of the business that has contracted its services. The responsibility that a public warehouse incurs is one of great magnitude, which illustrates the importance that a warehouse plays with regard to a company’s profits and/ or revenues.

Chicago Warehouse

Tags: Chicago Warehouses, Chicago Public Warehouses

Chicago Warehouse - Pallet Storage Methods

Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 @ 08:44 AM

Chicago Public WarehouseNeill Cartage and Warehouse is Chicago's premier full service logistics, warehousing, and distribution company.  Servicing the Midwest since 1946. 


Click Here for: Two Months Free Storage!


Many companies store their products on pallets in warehouses. There are a number of pallet storage methods that allow the warehouses to store pallets more efficiently. Here are a number of the pallet storage systems that are commonly used.

  • Block Stacking
  • Stacking Frames
  • Single-Deep Pallet Rack
  • Double Deep Rack
  • Drive-In Rack
  • Pallet Flow Rack

Block Stacking

Block stacking refers to unit loads stacked on top of each other and stored on the warehouse floor in lanes or blocks. The pallets are stacked to a specific height based on a number of criteria such as pallet condition, weight of the load, height clearance and the capability of the warehouse forklifts.

The pallets are retrieved from the block in a last in, first out (LIFO) manner. This does not allow for removing stock based on date basis or FIFO. Removal of stock can cause honeycombing to occur where empty spaces occur that cannot be filled until the whole lane is empty. This method is cheap to implement as it involves no racking and can be operated in any warehouse with open floor space.

Stacking Frames

Pallet stacking frames are made up from decks and posts that can be erected and moved if necessary. The stacking frame allows pallets to be stored several high and are particularly useful when the pallets to be stored are not stackable.

Many companies will use stacking frames in the warehouse when they need temporary racking during period busy periods. With stacking frames the issue of honeycombing exists similar to block stocking.

Single-Deep Pallet Rack

Single-deep pallet racking provides access to each pallet stored in the rack. This gets around the honeycombing issues of stacking frames and block stacking. When a pallet is removed the space is immediately available for a new pallet to be placed in that space. This type of racking can be configured in any number of ways with various heights. Most warehouses today have this type of racking in use. The major disadvantage is that the racks require significant floor space for suitable aisles.

Double-Deep Pallet Rack

The double-deep pallet rack is a variant on the single-deep rack that incorporates two single racks that are placed together. This reduces the number of aisles required but this type of racking is susceptible to honeycombing, so may not be as efficient as single-deep racking. In addition a double-reach forklift is required to place and remove pallets from the racking.

Drive-In Rack

Drive-In racks provide five to ten pallet load spaces similar to the double-deep racking. The drive-in lanes provide access for the forklift to place and remove stock. However the forklift has a limited space to maneuver and this increases the time required to place and remove pallets. The drive-in rack is similar to block stacking as the LIFO principle is used for pallet retrieval.

Pallet Flow Rack

The pallet flow rack operates whereby the load is moved from one end of the rack on a conveyor that allows the pallets to be removed in a FIFO manner. Once a pallet is removed the next pallet moves into the position of the pallet that was removed. This racking solution is suitable for warehouses that have a high throughput, but is an expensive option.

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Tags: Chicago Warehouse, Pallet Storage Methods, Chicago Public Warehouses

Chicago Warehousing - Your Strategic Resource for Greater Efficiency

Posted on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 @ 08:03 AM

Neill Cartage and Warehouse provides warehousing, distribution and cross-dock options as a strategic complement to our transportation and delivery services. Acting as your primary or secondary warehouse resource, we can deploy customizable solutions based on your unique needs. Our secure facilities provide the flexibility, responsiveness, reliability and personal touch needed to optimize product flow and improve storage and inventory requirements.

Our cost-effective services include:

Chicago Warehousing

  • Short or Long-term Storage
  • Rack & Bulk Storage
  • Logistics Management
  • Warehouse Management System (WMS)
  • Pick/Pack & Fulfillment Services
  • Light Assembly


  • Sort, Segregate, Stage, Scan, Schedule
  • Same-day Cross-dock
  • Pool Distribution Services
  • Consolidation Services
  • Load Plans
  • Labeling
  • Kitting
  • Warehousing Delivery Options

Benefits of our Warehousing Services

  • Flexibility to Meet Market Changes
  • Increased Speed to Market
  • Improved Fulfillment Time
  • Support Seasonal Fluctuations / New Product Launches
  • Conservation of Capital
  • Reduced Costs
  • Improved Customer Service

With our asset based facility Neill Cartage and Warehouse can provide the short or long-term solutions to meet your warehousing and distribution challenges.


Chicago Warehouse



Tags: Chicago Warehouse, Chicago Public Warehouses

Energy Efficient / Green Public Warehouse in Chicago

Posted on Thu, May 20, 2010 @ 07:26 AM

Chicago Public WarehouseNeill Cartage and Warehouse is Chicago's premier full service logistics, warehousing, and distribution company.  Servicing the Midwest since 1946. 


There seems to be a lot of talk in the logistics sector to "go green".  If you read the trade journals you will see a lot of information and discussions on green initiatives in trucking, shipping, ports, and warehousing.  First, you must understand there is a very big difference between "going green," and what I call a lot of "green talk," where companies promote themselves and environmentally friendly but really aren't.  With that being said Neill Cartage and Warehouse has taken several actions to become Chicago's green public warehouse.

What sorts of things will you find in one of these green warehouses?

Here are a few of the things Neill Cartage and Warehouse has done or is doing become Chicago's green public warehouse.

Materials and pallets:

New materials other than wood for pallets seem to last longer, are stronger and more easily recycled. 

Neill Cartage and Warehouse uses reuseable plastic pallets.

Paperless Tracking:

The logistics sector uses a ton of paper, but as their IT systems become better, things are now being tracked electronically, without much paper involved. Any logistics company that claims to be green must reduce the paperwork too.

Neill's, Chicago Warehouse, has recently installed a new tracking system which allows them to work almost in a paperless environment. 

Solar power:

Warehouses are perfectly suited for solar power due to the large amount of roof space. Now that solar panels are more efficient and less costly, this is a must for any green warehouse plan.

Neill's warehouse in Chicago is currently discussing putting solar panels on the roof with their energy company.  We will have more to blog about this matter in a few weeks! 


Use LED ultra-low wattage light bulbs, some as low as 3 watts or less.  Turning light off when they are not needed.  Also use sky lights to provide natural light through out the building.

Neill's, Chicago warehouse, was designed to use natural light to provide most of its lighting.  We have sky lights in every other bay that provide plenty of natural light.  All of our light bulbs are LED ultra-low wattage.   

Hydrogen cell Fork Lifts:

If we are truly worried about CO2 emissions and the air quality for the workers in warehouses why not move to hydrogen cell forklifts. Many warehouses have converted to electric units, but hydrogen cell seems really leading edge.

Neill's next fork lift purchase will mostly likely be an electric unit.  We currently are operating propane powered fork lifts, but would like to start using something a little more green. 

If you have any suggestions for Chicago's green public warehouse we would love to hear them.  We are always looking for more efficient ways to go green. 

Tags: Chicago Public Warehouses, Warehouse, Chicago Green Warehouse

Chicago Public Warehouses - How they benefit manufactures / importers

Posted on Wed, May 12, 2010 @ 14:12 PM

When manufacturers or importers find themselves without storage facilities they may often try to deal with the problem by building their own spaces on site. However, unless this is ongoing business, this can usually prove to be an expensive way to do it. On the scene is the Chicago public warehouse facility which will take care of excess stock until the end user is ready for it. Chicago fulfillment takes care of the needs of manufacturers and importers when they find themselves unable to handle all the goods.

The problem lies with one off or larger than normal orders for goods that have to be supplied at a future date. The importer or manufacturer cannot hope to store the goods in good condition because he is normally more concerned with delivery dates. However, making use of other storage facilities in the area will allow him to take on more work to allow him to focus on his core buisness. For example, take the importer who will supply a certain number of goods to a nationwide chain of outlet stores. When his goods come into the country, very often they are huge amounts which have to be broken down. Now what he needs are facilities where these bulk goods can be broken down, repackaged perhaps, and sent on to the vendors in the countryside. This can be a logistical nightmare, particularly for small suppliers, so having the ability to use space that is rented is a godsend to say the least.

He will not have to rent space, rent workers to repackage, or indeed, find the packaging because very often the warehouse facilities (3PL) will handle all of it.  It would be a one stop shop for anyone who imports goods. Once he has taken the order and his goods arrive in the area, he can then leave it to the storage facility to carry on with the work leaving him free to carry on selling.

These storage facilities usually have high ceilings, good ventilation and sometimes controlled temperatures which may be necessary in some circumstances. It also means that he can relax in the knowledge that the goods will not perish therefore no losses. State of the art lifting and loading machines also mean that the goods will not be damaged while the goods are away in storage. Otherwise this would bring complaints from all sides for sure. Once his reputation is shot, he will find it hard to gain the trust of his customers back so it is better to keep everything safe in the first place.

Of course, contracting these services out to other people does not come cheap, however, the cost is borne by the end user who accepts what he has to pay.

 Click Here: All qualified new accounts receive 1 month free storage.

Tags: Third-Party Logistics, Logistic Provider, Chicago Public Warehouses, Warehouse