Danville's SRI Opens New Distribution Center
Supply Resources Inc. opened its 172,000-square-foot regional distribution center at 1746 S. Main St. near the state line after closing on the building in February. The company had been using a 71,000-square-foot warehouse on Wilson Street.
"Even in a down economy SRI continues to grow," President Rick Barker said.
"As customers grow, we grow with them," added Kenny Scruggs, director of operations and logistics.
The move comes five years after Rick Barker launched the custom packaging and logistics company. Before then, Barker spent 20 years in the packaging industry and built SRI on the premise of giving customers better service.
His strategic plan involved being market competitive on price, making relationships sustainable and providing indispensable service.
"What we find most customers need is not a better price. They need a better process," Barker said. "We focus on developing a process that better manages a customer's business."
SRI found its niche in handling everything from designing, manufacturing, storing and delivering boxes to employing associates on customer sites and even installing equipment.
The new distribution center allows the company to excel in this niche. It gives SRI more storage space so that the company can deliver the product as the customer needs it.
"What we do better than anyone in the region is the just-in-time delivery," Barker said.
This frees up the customers' space for their use, said Scruggs, who was formerly operations manager at eToys. Some customers may need temporary space, which they can lease.
The location of the distribution center, right off U.S. 29, is easily accessible to trucks and customers, said Scruggs, who runs the facility.
Barker grew the company in Danville because that's where he grew up. Yet, the Virginia location means the company can ship to more addresses UPS next day than anywhere in the country, he added.
The company serves mostly Mid-Atlantic regional customers or others based on customer referral. SRI is also selective and targets customers in profitable industries that are less likely to migrate offshore in the future, Barker said.
Now that the five-year startup phase is complete, SRI works with a consulting firm to essentially redesign the company, Barker said.
"Creating a business is a risky endeavor," he said. "Your future is not for sure."
The next goal is to become a better employer. The company recently hired its 25th employee.
SRI is already helping its customers in green initiatives. When SRI delivers a truck of packaging material, that then empty truck can take baled customer recyclables back to the mill.
SRI changed box design to make boxes reusable several times before going back to the paper mill for recycling. The company replaced wood pallets with corrugated cardboard ones, which are easier to use and recycle.
"We're entrepreneurs," Barker said. "We'll build to suit a tenant or client. If the customer wants it, we will build it."