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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

Union Pacific's Joliet Intermodal Terminal Opens

Posted on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 @ 16:42 PM

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


The Union Pacific Railroad has opened its nearly $370 million Joliet Intermodal Terminal on 785 acres five miles south of Interstate 80 and seven miles east of Interstate 55.

Union Pacific chairman and CEO Jim Young said at Monday's opening that the new facility will increase the system's international and domestic container capacity while improving rail traffic efficiency throughout the Chicago area.

The terminal is designed to handle an annual capacity of 500,000 over-the-road trailers or oceangoing ship containers to enable Union Pacific to continue to pursue opportunities in the growing rail-truck and rail-ship markets.

Neill Cartage and Warehouse has been handing some of the Chicago warehousing and crossing-dock traffic that this terminal has created. Neill is also thinking about the possibility of opening a public warehouse in Elwood, to cut down on transportation cost. 

If you are looking for a reliable public warehouse or cross-dock facility in that area, please let us know at  

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Tags: Chicago Warehouse, UP Joliet terminal, Cross Docking Warehouse

Chicago - Container Freight Station

Posted on Tue, Oct 05, 2010 @ 08:13 AM

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


Neill Cartage and Warehouse's freight container station is in the backyard of Chicago UP Global 2 rail yard.  With Neill's close proximity they are able to offer the most competitive drayage rates around.  After a container is transported from the UP Intermodal facility to Neill's Chicago warehouse, Neill can provide transload services, warehousing, and/or crossdocking services.

Transload services: This is the unloading of the product and the transfer of the product from ocean containers into domestic intermodal, less-than-truckload (LTL), or over-the-road (OTR) trailers. 

Warehousing services: Neill's public warehousing offers flexible space at a variable cost which can expand or contract based on our customers’ specific business needs.  Long-term and short-term storage alternatives are available. 

Crossdocking servicesCrossdocking is a warehousing practice of transferring (or unloading) materials from an incoming tractor-trailer truck or rail car and then reloading these materials in another outbound mode of delivery such as semi-trailers or rail cars, with little or no warehousing in between. Cross docking is done to change the type of transportation being used, to sort materials intended for different destinations, or to combine material from different shipments. Cross-docking is used to decrease inventory storage by streamlining the flow between the supplier and the manufacturer.


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Tags: Chicago Container Station, Cross Docking Warehouse

Chicago Cross Docking and Transloading Warehouse

Posted on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 @ 09:21 AM

Chicago Public Warehouse can act as a temporary holding point, awaiting loading and shipment onto the final customer destination. The public warehouse will establish a price that includes temporary public warehousing space and the handling needed to receive and ship the product. Public warehousing storage charges may apply if the goods are not released for shipment within the agreed to free time included in the crossdocking or transloading rates.

Neill Cartage and Warehouse offers cross docking services to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Neill offers cross docking from:

  • Truck to Rail

  • Rail to truck

  • Container to Rail

  • Container to Truck

  • Value-added storage services such as packaging, assembly, case-picking, sorting, re-packaging, labeling, collating, kitting and processing.


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Tags: Chicago Warehouse, Cross Docking Warehouse