In a year that will be remembered for much that was uncertain—elections, legislation, the economy, even the end of the world as predicted by the Mayans, Ingersoll Rand/Trane (IRT) is entering 2013 with much certainty about their warehouse and distribution facilities. The national parts distribution centers located in Southaven, Miss. and Memphis, Tenn., are the 29th and 30th facilities to become certified under the Warehousing Education and Research Council’s (WERC) Facility Certification Program.

David Phillips, multi-site leader for IRT, who lead the initiative, is no stranger to the certification process, having done so with Hunter Fan back in 2011. Phillips, who oversees both certified facilities, explained the differences in the two locations, and the reasons for a multi-facility certification.

“Our Southaven DC is four years old and is a ‘traditional’ warehouse, with efficient and productive measures in place, but the processes are quite manual and absent of the technology used in Memphis. Memphis is only five months old and opened with a three-story ASRS, voice pick software, automatic sortation and conveyor systems, and very narrow-aisle wire-guided material handling equipment,” said Phillips.

“Certifying both facilities will help us incorporate the Memphis DC technology into Southaven, but will also ensure that what’s in place in Memphis is a best-practice according to the WERC industry standard.”

WERC’s business development associate, Chad Pilbeam, spoke with Phillips and learned of IRT’s long-term plans for the certification. 

“David explained to me that with the audits behind them and certification in hand, the company has plans to implement an SOP [standard operating procedure] across the entire IRT enterprise, which establishes a standard of expectations for warehousing and logistics—all based off of the WERC standards,” said Pilbeam. 

WERC’s Facility Certification is a voluntary program that requires each company to undergo an independent audit of 114 processes in eight core areas of warehouse operations. Only facilities that achieve a minimum score are certified and recognized by WERC. Additional information about the Facility Certification Program can be obtained from the association’s website at www.werc.org or by contacting Chad Pilbeam at 630-320-5808.