Analytics Exercise: Distribution Center Location
Grainger: Reengineering the China/U.S. Supply Chain
W. W. Grainger, Inc. is a leading supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) products to businesses and institutions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico with an expanding presence in Japan, India, China and Panama. The company works with more than 3,000 suppliers and runs an extensive Website (http://www.grainger.com) where Grainger offers nearly 900,000 products. The products range from industrial adhesives used in manufacturing, to hand tools, janitorial supplies, lighting equipment, and power tools. When something is needed by one of their 1.8 million customers it is often needed quickly, so quick service and product availability are key drivers to Grainger’s success.
Your assignment* involves studying U.S. distribution in Grainger’s supply chain. Grainger works with over 250 suppliers in the China and Taiwan region. These suppliers produce products to Grainger’s specifications and ship to the United States using ocean freight carriers from four major ports in China and Taiwan. From these ports, product is shipped to U.S. entry ports in either Seattle, Washington, or Los Angeles, California. After passing through customs, the 20- and 40-foot containers are shipped by rail to Grainger’s central distribution center in Kansas City, Kansas. The containers are unloaded and quality is checked in Kansas City. From there, individual items are sent to regional warehouses in nine U.S. locations, a Canada site, and Mexico.
Grainger: U.S. Distribution
In the United States approximately 40 percent of the containers enter in Seattle, Washington, and 60 percent at the Los Angeles, California, port. Containers on arrival at the port cities are inspected by federal agents and then loaded onto rail cars for movement to the Kansas City distribution center. Variable costs for processing at the port are $5.00 per cubic meter (CBM) in both Los Angeles...
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