Above: Dave Doherty, President of Digi-Key Electronics, in front of the new Product Distribution Center
Last month, Digi-Key Electronics celebrated the ribbon cutting of its Product Distribution Center expansion (PDCe), expanding the company’s headquarters’ footprint by 2.2 million square feet for a combined total of more than 3 million square feet. The new facility allows Digi-Key to pick, pack and ship nearly three times the previous daily average of 27,000 packages.
The new facility is nearly fully automated, the only task that is truly done by hand is the actual picking of parts. The PDCe features two primary conveyor systems to provide redundancy in the case of a breakdown and provide opportunities for future growth. There are over 27 miles of automated conveyor belt in the new facility, and an average order will travel more than 3,200 feet inside the building.
The opening of the facility comes at a time of record growth for the company – Digi-Key wrapped up 2021 growing faster than ever before with a 65% growth rate, and bookings in 2022 are up more than 25% over last year. Since construction began in 2018, Digi-Key has added 1,500 suppliers and 1.5 million part numbers to their inventory.
According to Dave Doherty, President of Digi-Key, last year the company has reached more than 857,000 customers, including 335,000 new customers across 180 countries. I a message to Techtime, he said that the new 204,400 square meter PDCe, “will dramatically increase the amount of space available for storing existing and new products.
“We have developed an in-house automation system: The most common format in which we ship broken pack quantity is with “cut tape.” Our process today is approximately 30 picks per hour (PPH). The new proprietary system achieves 300+ picks per hour. We have also developed a way to print key information on the back of the tape, enabling engineers to better organize their components, giving them access to the Digi-Key Traceability portal and the ability to look up additional information in real-time.”
Strong Digital Enhancements
“Our customers want to self-serve, self-quote and easily check availability, and to manage their bill of materials (BOM) and share it with others. Now they can now do all this and more with our myLists tool. Today, Digi-Key’s Marketplace is averaging more than 235,000 visitors a day. Our suppliers continue to leverage this important resource to extend some of their products that don’t naturally fit into their own shop – a good example would be larger, bulkier items like test and measurement equipment that may not make sense to ship twice, once into Digi-Key and then again to the customer.”
Global Fulfillment Experts
“In 2020, we introduced Fulfilled by Digi-Key, our warehouse and logistics center program where we store, pick, pack, and ship our supplier partners’ products globally. What do our Fulfilled by Digi-Key investments look like? Well, we’ve got a couple of CRJ aircraft down the road from our warehouse, ready to fly to Memphis and Louisvillewo of the largest distribution hubs in the United States, every night.
“Our industry moves quickly – don’t get left behind trying to figure out the complexities of selling and shipping products around the world. Focus on what you do best – and leave the high service distribution to us.”