Cintas adds first aid and safety distribution center

Elisha Harrison and Dave Wheeler, Senior Vice President-Global Supply Chain

Elisha Harrison and Dave Wheeler, Senior Vice President-Global Supply Chain

“It’s an exciting time to be an employee-partner with Cintas and I am proud of all the hard work everyone has put into the opening,” Elisha Harrison, distribution center manager, stated in a press release in regards to the new distribution center in Reno.

Cintas strives to provide varieties of people what they need to be, as their motto goes, “ready for the workday.” With products and services ranging from uniforms to first aid and safety, they operate more than 400 facilities in North America, including six manufacturing plants and eight distribution centers, according to their website.

Cintas purchased ZEE Medical last year expanding their first aid and safety services. The new distribution center in Reno was up and running in about five months from the day they signed the lease for the space. This first aid and safety distribution center is the second one for Cintas. Having this distribution center in Reno allows them to support business throughout Western North America. The location is ideal because “you can get anywhere on the west coast in two days” Harrison explained. Prior to this location, products were coming from Ohio and taking four or five days.

Harrison clarified the importance of “speed to market” in their industry.

Cintas provides uniforms, supplies and more that allow people to perform their job, meaning the timely demand of these items can be crucial for people to get their work done. In order to meet the demand of efficiency and consistent performance, Cintas capitalizes on their internal supply chain.

This internal supply chain allows them to bring the products from inception to the hands of their clients. Cintas handles the process from raw materials, to design, to the manufacturer, to distribution and on to their clients, who then can perform their jobs for their customers.

Cintas also looks at their product line to see what is working, evaluate customer likes and dislikes, as well as listen to feedback for improving or changing products. This helps them streamline their service as well as increase customer satisfaction.

Cintas already had a place in the Reno market with three facilities employing more than 100 residents. They occupied a warehouse for uniform distribution off Vista Boulevard in Sparks. The new first aid and safety warehouse adjoins this location. Part of what assisted them in opening the first aid and safety side so quickly was being able to use the already existing resources at this location.

By removing the wall that separated the two warehouses, they added an additional 25,000 square feet to their already existing 50,000. While they keep the two centers divided due to different requirements and needs of the products they contain, they are able to share common resources, such as their front office and break room. Harrison indicated that about 90 percent of the expansion for the new distribution center used businesses in the Reno area to perform the work.

The new first aid and safety distribution center brought on 10 new employees and four promotions from within.

Harrison also indicated that he believed there would be more expansion coming to the area. Cintas has what they call depot locations popping up in more rural, hard to access areas and their products will be distributed to these locations from the Reno center.

Harrison said that while the uniform side of Cintas is still the largest, first aid and safety is close behind.

“(They are) not taking on more than they can handle,” Harrison explained, in regards to the importance of healthy growth and expansion.

“Grow smart,” is the mentality, Harrison added. While they may want to expand quickly and rapidly, taking calculations and history of the area into account, a little slower and consistent is more likely to guarantee the kind of growth they want.

Harrison provided insight to the entire operation that happens in their 75,000-square-foot distribution center. They consider all employees partners to encourage mutual respect throughout. The employee/partners, “don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care,” Harrison explained.

Having worked a variety of positions for Cintas before taking on his current role, as distribution center manager Harrison does his best to help out his team wherever he can.

As a whole, the new distribution center and growth for Cintas in Reno sounds like it will continue to thrive and may even create more opportunity in the area.


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