There is but one ultimate objective in this life, the Dalai Lama once said. It is to help others. He called this “our prime purpose.” Helping others by providing solutions for needs involving distribution, warehousing, and freight consolidation is the prime function of an enterprise that has become recognized as a prime resource of support to retailers throughout America.
Prime Distribution Services (PDS) is an industry leader in providing cost-effective national distribution programs. PDS improves retail suppliers’ businesses by providing innovative supply chain solutions while delivering reduced cost, improved service and increased capability. With their people and core values as the foundation, PDS is a business partner that delivers world class service.
PDS was founded in 1990 to offer vendors an alternate means of distribution to retailers. Their goal was to provide these vendors with a single point of distribution that could incorporate warehousing, cross-docking, packaging and multi-vendor freight consolidation into their supply chain. Since 2011, PDS has been a part of Roadrunner Transportation Systems – a leading asset-light transportation and logistics service provider.
The 3PL industry has changed and evolved since its inception. Through all these changes PDS has remained an industry leader in providing truly cost-effective distribution.
Today, Prime Distribution is at the forefront of supply chain management, or collaborative logistics as it is commonly referred to as. Their history as a consolidator has helped differentiate them from the competitors in the past, and will continue to do so well into the future.
“We want to handle our customers’ entire supply chain, including transportation management,” says President Kevin Charlebois. “That’s the core of our business.”
Prime Distribution Service works proactively with their customers, suppliers and retailers to design low-cost, high service and easily visible supply chain solutions for everything they need. “At the heart of our success is our willingness to accommodate customer requests. Through innovative problem solving and collaboration, we have been able to build programs around our customers’ needs,” Charlebois says. “At the same time, we provide the highest level of service to the retail destinations.”
Since many of their customers are small to medium-sized companies with large volumes of business at the retail level, the suppliers are put at ease by the fact that PDS’ expertise and systems can meet all the distribution requirements set forth by retailers. This level of comfort allows their customers to concentrate on their core business, which is to put the best product on the shelf at the lowest possible cost.
Customers care about a few key things – that their shipments arrive on time, arrive at optimal frequencies, and the cost is low. And that’s what PDS delivers, every time, he explains.
Prime Distribution Services also stands apart from other logistics companies due to the size of their warehouses. They offer 2.4 million square-feet of space across Indiana, Texas, California and Georgia, that provides a national footprint for distribution across the United States. All of the space is AIB-certified (American Institute of Baking) with superior ratings.
“When the product is ready to ship, our traffic department can make arrangements for truckload orders as well as large LTL’s,” he says. All the facilities are owned and managed by PDS and their employees. “They’re not only strategically located, but have the capacity to meet every customers’ needs.” PDS maintains an open-door policy with customers, and urge them to visit their facilities as often as they like.
Internally, PDS employs anywhere from 250 – 300 people, and maintains a network of carriers they leverage from operating companies through Roadrunner. Their staff covers every facet of the transportation segment, from LTL to truckload to TMS. “It gives us the opportunity to provide capacity with all segments of transportation,” says Charlebois. “We’re able to build relationships with our carriers and that connection provides superior service.”
Driven by technology
Prime Distribution Services is also at the forefront of technology, and operates automated picking solutions driven by a state-of-the-art and custom WMS environment. Their fully-automated operation utilizes forward pick faces for case picking, allowing for full pallet secondary inventory that increases inventory accuracy and improves product rotation. Product identity is verified by bar code in a multi-directional scan tunnel that allows for the verification of manufacturer level bar coding of all kinds and locations.
“Technology is something we have invested in significantly in this last year and will do so going forward. When we talk about supply chain management, we’re aligning ourselves with companies that provide innovative and leading edge services that support our customers’ needs,” Charlebois says. “Our customers are looking for value-added benefits, so we’re going to align with companies that can provide world class services and support.”
At the moment, they’re working with a customer that is interested in using Roadrunner for their global capabilities and wants to use PDS for their supply chain. That is significant for PDS because “we are a global company,” Charlebois says. “Roadrunner is a global company that helps us position our service, not only from a domestic standpoint, but international as well.”
Looking ahead five to 10 years, Charlebois predicts Prime Distribution Services will continue to be a dominant leader in supply chain management by delivering services to any segment or industry. Consumers demand more choices, more so now than any other time, and retailers demand efficiency. They bring solutions to both.
“We’re showing that through our customers’ value proposition, we bring optimal supply chain solutions for anyone who needs it,” he says.