Spreetail has officially opened the doors of our seventh fulfillment center outside Seattle, Washington. The location’s leadership team has been designated and they are busy preparing the building, setting up Spreetail’s software network, and getting ready for our first ship day. The new location in Tacoma, WA will help serve customers in the Pacific Northwest, reaching more customers with next-day delivery. In honor of our opening, we’re diving into the details of what it takes to launch a new fulfillment center, and what we learned in the process.
1. Why did Spreetail choose Tacoma, WA?
Our network currently provides next-day delivery speed to most customers in the USA. However, the Tacoma location gives us the ability to better serve customers in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to this location, the nearest warehouse was in Nevada. As we continue to look at future warehouse builds, we must consider our ability to deliver to the customer next-day, while also scaling for same-day capabilities.
2. How large is the new fulfillment center and how much product can it hold?
The fulfillment center is 281,000 square feet and will hold approximately 1 million cubic feet of product.
3. How many employees are needed to staff the fulfillment center?
This fulfillment center is one of our smaller locations and will staff roughly 20 people through the first year.
4. What kind of training does the team go through?
Our new hire leadership goes through 2-3 months of training at another site before going to their home location. We also send a team of existing Spreetail fulfillment center employees to lead training with new hires. The ‘away team’ travels to the new warehouse, in this case, Tacoma, and trains our new members on safety standards, inbound/outbound processes, and other activities such as inventory. Team members have regular coaching sessions and team stand-ups to stay up to date on new information and training that may arise.
5. How will the new fulfillment center impact Spreetail’s brand partners?
Our brand partners will have a new fulfillment center to send orders to, a new team to partner with, and may see delivery speed increase in the Pacific Northwest. However, brands will see little outward change since we will continue to fulfill to the customer from the closest location – that location will now be the Tacoma fulfillment center in some cases.
6. Did the COVID-19 pandemic present any added challenges to opening?
As with many supply chains, the pandemic has caused lead times to increase for steel and other materials needed to build our warehouse. We have found ways to phase into building operations while we deal with delays in the supply chain.
7. What type of efficiencies has Spreetail learned from prior location launches?
We’ve learned how to manage lead time and how to scope building needs to ensure our fulfillment center can withstand Spreetail’s continued growth. We’ve gotten better and more precise with each build. We plan for everything including the number of sorters, doors, and dock locations– each item is included in a review process to guarantee that our team is setup for success.
8. Can you share any plans for Spreetail’s fulfillment network in the future?
We can’t share specifics, but we will continue building new facilities to increase our speed to the customer in several new locations. As we announce dates to the team internally, we will make sure our vendor partners are aware of those future facilities. There will be many more builds, so stay tuned for further communication throughout 2021 and 2022.