Welcome to the third installment of The More You Know – a series where we go step by step through our furniture project process and give full insight into how we transform workspaces around the country. All projects are different — especially those in specialized industries like healthcare or education – but this is a good place to start to better understand what happens behind the scenes at RJE.
Most in our industry don’t see this part of our process, but our warehousing operation is crucial in ensuring the completion of a successful project. Read below to see how manufacturing, shipping and warehousing occurs and stay tuned for more!
After an order is placed, your project moves into the hands of our trusted manufacturer partners. The contract furniture industry builds furniture based on demand, so product is never being built without an intended home in mind. This fact, along with material availability, manufacturing location and current pipeline, is what impacts the lead times for each product. Like we mentioned in the design phase post, lead times are also impacted by which textiles and finishes you choose — so there are many factors that contribute to how long the manufacturing stage of the project process lasts.
Once product is ready, the manufacturers will work with their third-party shipping partners to deliver product to its many destinations across the United States. While some clients choose to drop ship their product directly to the job site, a lot of product comes to the RJE warehouses to be stored until installation begins.
It’s at this stage where our invaluable warehousing team comes in. Based on the project size and location, product shipments go to one of our warehouses across the Midwest. Our largest warehouse is on the near-east side of Indianapolis and has more than 70,000 square feet of space. Prior to a shipment leaving the manufacturer, our warehousing team will coordinate scheduling with the third-party logistics firm to set a date and time for them to deliver to our facility.
Once the truck arrives, our warehousing team will check the packing list details to determine what product is on the truck, if it is our product and what project it is intended for. After that, our team will unload the product into our staging area.
From there, they’ll set aside any boxes or skids with dents, punctures or signs of damage and inspect it to ensure it arrived safely. Once received, all product is tagged with crucial information like: date of receipt, customer name, piece count, order number, vendor and acknowledgement number. After we enter the shipment information into our accounting system, we also enter it into a Smartsheet that tracks the number of days in warehouse. This data is valuable because it offers us insight into our efficiency and profitability.
Once the product is ready to be moved to its proper storage location in the warehouse, our team will adhere to all manufacturer guidelines to ensure it’s properly transported and stored. We work with a lot of fragile product that has rigorous storage requirements, so our team is adamant about maintaining quality assurance before we deliver a product to site.
Flash forward to the project installation — how does your product get from our warehouse to your site? Once a project is ready for delivery, our team will export the project information from our system, go to that area of the warehouse and pull product. After it’s moved to our staging area, our trained team will carefully and systematically load it into one of our RJE fleet vehicles. All product is loaded with installation is mind — meaning the pieces we assemble first (workstations, storage, etc.) are near the door and the product we bring in last (task chairs, lounge pieces, etc.) are always placed in the nose of the truck.
At this point, it’s time for delivery and installation! Stay tuned for our next installment of The More You Know to learn about this crucial stage in our process!