plant maintenance and keeping production lines going.
“Our business model is based on having the right product in stock,” says Todd Radwell, senior vice president of
operations and production. “When a machine is down,
The company has four basic business functions, each of
Radwell is known for having
the hard-to-find replacement
parts that help customers keep
their aging systems operating.
A third group sells an
Radwell serves the automo-
tive, bottling, pharmaceutical, plastics, chemical, and other
industries, as well as clients like cruise ships and amusement parks.
The company has six U.S. facilities, plus locations in
Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Two of the
U.S. operations are stocking locations, as is the U.K. facility.
Radwell’s largest operation is in Willingboro, which also
houses its corporate offices. The company is growing by
about 20 percent per year.
DENSE AND EFFICIENT STORAGE
Last October, Radwell moved into a 312,000-square-foot
facility in Willingboro that previously served as a pharmaceutical distribution center. In making the move, the
company consolidated production and warehouse operations from two former locations. In addition to distribution
space, the building contains the repair shops as well as work
areas where components are broken down into parts that
can be resold.
Moving into larger quarters allowed Radwell to house
more inventory. The company generally takes in about five
times more parts than it sells in order to maintain a wide
assortment of stock. (The distributor holds a lot of inventory because manufacturing machines—which are durable
goods with long useful lives—need parts long after the original manufacturer has stopped providing replacements.) At
the same time, the move allowed Radwell to design a facility
with better material flow than it had in its other buildings.
The centerpiece of the operation is the AutoStore, which
Radwell chose for its storage density and ability to handle
small parts effectively. The system’s relatively small foot-
print also made it a good fit for the facility’s space, espe-
cially since the ceiling’s 30-foot clearance ruled out the use
of crane-based systems.
The AutoStore houses parts in dense stacks of 16 bins
moves to a different stack to reorganize the warehouse or
delivers to a picking station to supply a part needed for an