Brown Shoe Company, Inc. recently marked the completion of its 350,000-square foot Famous Footwear Distribution Center, adding time savings and cost efficiencies to the process of shipping footwear to the chain’s stores and consumers on the West Coast.
The Famous Footwear DC is located within Tejon Industrial Complex (TIC), a 1,450-acre master-planned business park anchoring California’s central trade corridor at the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in Central California. TIC is part of the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch, the largest contiguous expanse of private land in California. This strategic location, approximately 90 minutes north of the Los Angeles ports and four hours south of Oakland, gives warehouse operators efficient access to the state’s two major port complexes and the ability to serve consumers from San Francisco to San Diego and east to Las Vegas in a one-day truck turn. The site also enables companies to provide round-the-clock, efficient outbound, roundtrip delivery service to 96 percent of California’s population and parts of Nevada — all within the current Federal driver hours of service limitations.
“The new Famous Footwear DC has an annual capacity of 32 million pairs of shoes and expected inventory turns 17-22 times per year, which means our stores and web sites will offer shoppers important seasonal footwear trends earlier in the season, and freshen assortments more frequently,” said Brown Shoe Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ron Fromm. “Additionally, Tejon Ranch’s location in California’s Central Valley affords us tremendous logistics, labor and transportation efficiencies – cost savings we pass along to consumers.”
The Famous Footwear DC currently employs about 75 people, and is expected to create approximately 40 additional jobs in upcoming months. Its initial shipping area includes all Famous Footwear stores located west of the Rocky Mountains — approximately one-third of the 1,100-store chain’s locations — and will expand later this month to include direct shipping to customers in that geographic area who place orders on FamousFootwear.com.
To enhance the new DC with state-of-the-art logistics systems, Brown Shoe partnered with supply chain strategy, design and implementation firm Fortna, Inc. to integrate best practices for high velocity retail distribution with best of breed equipment and system technologies. The Famous Footwear distribution facility was designed to support business goals for growth capacity, space utilization, handling cost and service performance. New technologies and systems include a cross belt unit sortation system, multiple sliding shoe sorters, a high density storage and picking module, new warehouse management software and the Fortna warehouse control system – FortnaWCS™. Fortna’s integrated delivery model included program and project management, site management, design engineering, controls engineering, software engineering, procurement, process design, testing, training and start up assistance.
“We are proud that Brown Shoe recognizes the value of the Fortna model and are confident that their business goals of cost efficiency and optimized customer service will be met in this new distribution center,” said John White, Executive Vice President-Fortna. “Our unique model of balancing processes, systems, people and assets has been proven to positively impact our clients’ bottom lines.”
TIC provides access to the qualified workforce of the Bakersfield area, a 24-hour operating environment critical to warehouse operators, Foreign Trade Zone designation, efficient access to all the transit corridors of the 11 Western States, and has ample room for future expansion and customization.
“Tejon Ranch is committed to creating a best-of-class operating environment for California’s business community and bringing quality employment opportunities to Kern County,” said Barry Hibbard, Vice President of Industrial and Commercial Development for Tejon Ranch. “We are extremely proud to welcome Famous Footwear to Tejon Industrial Complex. Their selection of our master-planned business park validates the strategic merits of this logistics hub and its leading role in California’s economic future.”
Clayco Inc., a corporate real estate design-build and construction firm headquartered in St. Louis, acquired the 23.75-acre lot in TIC upon which the Famous Footwear DC was built and leases the building to Brown Shoe. Clayco selected the TIC location to fulfill Famous Footwear’s distribution center requirements after a thorough review of potential sites in California and surrounding states.
“We at Clayco are proud to be a part of bringing this project from concept to reality. This truly is at the top of the class in fulfillment and distribution facilities in the country, and reflects the strong commitment of Brown Shoe Company to remain on the cutting edge of providing the best for its customers,” said Clayco Principal Tom Schroyer.