Expansion is a sign of success in any business. Sometimes, it’s vital to the future of the enterprise.

That was the case for the Earle M Jorgensen Company, a subsidiary of Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. The company’s Earth City, MO facility had been leased for many years but its layout and size had become less than optimal over the years.

EMJ evaluated purchasing the building but the cost to renovate an older plant with inherent layout and design issues just didn’t make sense.  EMJ felt that they could design and build a better facility that would be more efficient and support its current business model. They found what they needed in a greenfield property less than 40 miles away in the town of Union, MO. The new facility allows EMJ to process and supply aluminum, carbon steel, alloy and stainless steel products in keeping with their signature promise: “On Time, Or Free.”

The new site

The 65,000-square-foot distribution center is accompanied by 4,500 square feet of office space. Finished in 2015, the site plays a critical role as one of the company’s many distribution centers that allows them to quickly supply customers in the U.S. and Canada.

According to Jay Czarnecki, the firm’s Senior Operations Manager for the Northeast, the new site needed to maintain a stable environment that protected raw products. He challenged The Korte Company to design an HVAC system that protected products while also being energy-efficient.

With an eye toward possible future expansion, the structure was designed and built with the idea that an additional 35,000 square feet would be added on should it become necessary.

At The Korte Company, we try to see around corners just like our customers. On this and many other distribution center projects, we design with flexibility in mind. That means sometimes choosing low-cost, temporary materials and designing critical infrastructure ready-made for integration with new construction.

Overcoming challenges

Early in the project, our teams encountered clay deposits we didn’t know were in the ground while digging the foundation. It’s the sort of thing that can set a project back significantly, but to us, it was an opportunity to prove our worth to the customer. We informed EMJ of the problem, told them what would be required for remediation, and stuck by what we said.

In fact, that’s something Czarnecki said he appreciated in general: When we lay out a plan, we stick to it. No surprises. We do it because one of our most important missions is to make construction easy. We turned the facility over to EMJ a few weeks early.

No problems

It’s great when we deliver projects on-time and on-budget. We try to do it on every single job. But what’s more important is that the work we do stands up over the long term, and our work at the EMJ site in Union is holding up just fine. Czarnecki reports no problems in the two years since we finished the job.

The “build smart” attitude we bring to every job site made an impression on EMJ. Czarnecki said should the company have a need to expand their business in other areas of the country or upgrade an existing facility with an addition, The Korte Company would be at the top of his list.

If you’re looking for a Design-Build partner for your next distribution center job, we’re ready to discuss the project. You can also read this free guide to learn how you can maximize the efficiency of your warehouse space with smarter design.

The Korte Company does what they say they’re going to do. Everybody comes in and puts down a good sale and promises the world. But with Korte, there were no surprises—I hate surprises. They came through. The budget was what it was and they definitely took care of business.” – Jay Czarnecki, Senior Operations Manager Northeast Region, EMJ Company

How to maximize warehouse efficiency with smarter design

In this advanced guide to state-of-the-art distribution centers, we reveal design strategies to achieve streamlined operations, energy savings and rapid project delivery. Fill out the form to download this comprehensive but to-the-point guide.

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