MIM on the Go: Columbia Sportswear Distribution Center

Yesterday, a group of PSU Master in International Management (MIM) students, a MIM alumni, and a professor got together in the evening to tour Columbia Sportswear Company’s Rivergate Distribution Center in North Portland, Oregon with the facility’s Operations Manager Gene Williams.

This facility is situated on 32.41 acres with 1.5 million square feet of total floor space (approximately 31 football fields) between the first and mezzanine levels. The group started their tour with a brief informational video about the facilities followed by Q&A session with Williams. Williams then walked the group through the facility and explained the distribution process from receiving, reserve storage, the unit picking area, upper and lower sorter areas, value added services (VAS), and shipping.

Williams has been working for Columbia’s Rivergate Distribution Center for 13 years. He laughed when he explained the unconventional way he ended up in his current position as Operations Manager. He previously worked in accounting and somehow got involved in marketing. Eventually he managed other distribution centers and landed the job at Columbia Sportswear Company’s Rivergate facility.

Students on the tour included Ali Mondragon, a PT MIM student who will be graduating in December 2011 and MIM soon-to-be graduates as of this December: Genevieve Tandon, Matt Snyder, Clayton Kynerd, Will Sandman, and Jasmine Avgerakis. Also in attendance was Will Hutchens, MIM 2009 alumni, and Dr. Lee Buddress, an Associate Professor and Director of Supply and Logistics at Portland State University’s School of Business Administration.

MIM thanks Dr. Buddress for setting up the tour, Genevieve for coordinating schedules, and Gene Williams for being a wonderful tour guide and answering 101 questions related to staffing, supply chain, and international business operations.

(L-R) Tandon, Buddress, Sandman, and Kynerd observing the brief informational video of Columbia Sportswear Company's Rivergate Distribution Facilities.

Snyder and Hutchens learning about Columbia Sportswear Company's Rivergate Distribution Center.

Reserve Storage (Case Pick)

The group is impressed with the mezzanine levels of reserve storage above. The facility is 37 feet high. (L-R) Snyder, Buddress, Tandon, Hutchens, Avgerakis, Kynerd, Sandman, and Williams.

The distribution center receives product made in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, and China - just to name a few.

Observing product move through the conveyor system where staff will place product on to moving trays that will deposit items into the pre-assigned bins.

Product will be placed on these moving tilting trays and then passed over/under scanners before being deposited into pre-assigned bins.

The mezzanine levels in the distribution center in the shipping area.

Cartons move through the distribution center on conveyors and tracks. There are approximately nine miles of conveyors in Rivergate Distribution Center.

Once cartons are automatically sealed and weighed they travel via conveyor to the PandAs (print and apply label stations). Cartons are then sorted to be shipped and delivered to any of Columbia's approximately 40 shipping destinations.

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2 Comments

Filed under Ali's Entries, Business Tours, Networking

2 responses to “MIM on the Go: Columbia Sportswear Distribution Center

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