Central Warehouse at East Grand Forks Factory
By Lee Norman, Materials Supervisor
American Crystal Sugar Company has a 30,000 square foot central material and supply warehouse located next to our East Grand Forks factory. This warehouse is used to store common materials and supplies used by our five factories and agricultural department. We have approximately 20,000 line items with the most expensive material being a spare gear box for our Stord pulp presses at $429,000 and the least expensive, metal shims at $0.20.
This building was originally built back in 1973 to provide storage for used sugar factory equipment transferred from PepsiCo’s/Empire State Sugar Company in Montezuma, New York. That equipment was eventually used to upgrade the East Grand Forks factory. As space became available various commodity materials were identified unique to all factories and then ordered and stocked at the central warehouse. This would allow for the lowering of material and supply inventories at each of the factory locations while allowing purchasing to leverage for better pricing on larger quantities. A majority of the spare equipment parts, operating and safety materials are purchased via supply agreements. These supply agreements are competitively bid every 3-5 years. The main agreements cover our bearing/power transmission materials, pipe & valves, motors, safety, electrical, MRO materials and packaging materials. In 2002, the East Grand Forks factory storeroom was physically moved to the central warehouse. This allowed the storeroom to capitalize on more efficient operations and allowed the factory to utilize additional space for their tool crib.
Deliveries are made to each of the factories once a week. Factory personnel electronically create requisitions for materials, then a stock transport purchase order is created, and finally our stores specialist picks the parts and places it on our 24’ flatbed truck for delivery to the factory. This past year, we received in approximately $10 million worth of inventory and issued out nearly the same amount for a 1.0 inventory turnover. This required over 65,000 receipts/issues in our material management system.
In addition to supplying material and supplies to each factory, most of our enterprise material management processes are handled through this location. Those processes include the approval for new material requests, the identification/disposal of obsolete materials, the management of asset disposal and the maintenance of our material management system and training support.
Along with our stores specialist, staffing at American Crystal’s central warehouse also includes our M&S Administrator, two Factory Buyers, a Storeroom Supervisor and a Material Supervisor.