Access Logistics Spaulding Facility
Ada, Michigan USA
March 3, 2003
Evan Armstrong

In 1999 Access Logistics was launched as a full-fledged 3PL from the largest direct selling company in the world…Alticor Corporation (formally Amway). Using his experience with managing logistics operations for Alticor and their subsidiary Quixtar, Jim Siewertsen (Director of Business Development, Global Services) developed a plan to sell in-house logistics capabilities as a 3PL. The plan was fully implemented and Access has grown to provide third-party services to customers including: Barco Uniforms (which support brands such as Disney, Taco Bell, and KFC), Blue Diamond Growers, Reader’s Digest, and Idea Sphere (which supports the iVillage brand). Access Logistics provides services from seven D.C.’s with approximately 2.5 million square feet of space and fulfills over 8 million orders per year. Many of the orders are handled via their call center, input from customer web sites, or via data feeds from customer ERP systems.

Access Logistics Spaulding fulfillment center in Ada is 650,000 sq. ft. and supports 250 employees who fulfill orders from approximately 25,000 SKU’s. The food-grade facility is highly mechanized with the latest in material handling equipment and has achieved a pick accuracy of 99.8%. Receiving has 25 dock doors and 35,000 skids of storage. All inbound non-barcoded items are barcoded and scanned at receiving. Weight and cube is captured on each product and stored in Access’ WMS system for use in put away and in shipping. The system also provides for inbound replenishment control.

Automatic carts transport pallets and cases from receiving to put away. Picking includes pick to conveyer, pick to light, and pick to tote of case and less than case quantities. An A-Frame is used for picking over-the-counter vitamins and supplements. Tilt trays off of multiple pick lines feed chutes for the pick and pack operation. All items are barcoded and picked using RF devices. Access is even handling some garments on hangers in a separate picking zone. Over the past twelve months, Access has picked over 21 million pieces for their 3PL clients.

Access’ reverse logistics capabilities are extensive. For disposition they can provide liquidation, disposal, charitable donation, return to vendor, and return to stock options. Their system is integrated to handle all credit processing.

Two hundred information technology personnel support Alticor’s systems needs. Access Logistics primarily utilizes nine programmers for maintaining their proprietary WMS and TMS systems and six analysts for performing integrations and data links (EDI, XML, etc.). Access is also implementing six-sigma process and training at all facilities.

With the breadth of value-added warehousing and fulfillment capabilities being supplied by Access it is easy to see why they continue to develop new third-party business.


Sources: A&A Primary Research,

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