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Third time’s the charm: Columbus expands to three omnichannel facilities

aerial view of new whiplash facility with text ‘columbus, ohio 437,589 square feet’

So many orders, so little space! According to CBRE Group, a $1 billion increase in online sales equates to a need for an additional one million square feet of warehousing. With e-commerce sales forecast to see double-digital growth for the next few years, space is at a serious premium.

This is why Whiplash is staying ahead of demand with the opening of its third state-of-the-art omnichannel facility in Columbus, Ohio. At 437,589 square feet, the facility is the largest distribution center operated by Whiplash within the Columbus region. This expansion follows Whiplash’s opening of its second Columbus facility last year, after the company’s entrance into inland warehousing in 2019 when the first Columbus facility opened. 

The power of centralized fulfillment

For merchants and digitally-native brands, how and where to store inventory dictates not just how SKUs are managed but the rest of their e-commerce fulfillment strategy. 

A slow, inflexible storage and fulfillment plan can cause growth to stagnate, which is why businesses must choose the right strategy for their specific needs.

Although multi-node fulfillment has gained popularity as a way to lower shipping costs, centralized fulfillment still offers some major advantages. One facility means lower operating costs and a higher level of oversight. When you aren’t juggling multiple fulfillment locations, it’s also much easier to focus on the customer experience.

In sum, single-node fulfillment can be a powerful strategy to optimize cost and speed – but only if it’s the right location. Choosing a facility that is strategically located close to key customer hubs and transportation routes is essential for streamlined, centralized fulfillment. 

With unmatched accessibility to intermodal, air, and ground services, the Columbus region is a global logistics hub that supports some of the world’s largest brands and top logistics service providers. The area is accessible to more Americans within 500 miles than any other major inland or coastal port, serving nearly one-half of the U.S. population within a 10-hour truck drive. 

The opening of another omnichannel facility addresses the growing need for B2B and B2C distribution from the Midwest region, increasing Whiplash’s capabilities to reach U.S. retailers and consumers with fast, cost-effective fulfillment and ground services.

“We’re expanding our presence in the east-central part of the country in Columbus because of a market need, also concurrent with the fast growth of e-commerce. The Ohio location offers a strategic advantage to efficiently serve established and emerging brands and their customers from a single ship point or those brands that require a complementary distribution point,” said Jeff Wolpov, Senior Vice President, E-commerce at Whiplash. 

Having products in the right place, at the right time

Inventory management isn’t just about having merchandise where you need it; it’s also about ensuring that SKUs are readily available for picking at the right time to meet consumer demand and take advantage of growth opportunities. 

In particular, scalable fulfillment capabilities are crucial during peak season to help brands capture a bigger share of the market. If your facility cannot scale effectively during this time, bottlenecks in fulfillment can result in missed sales and dissatisfied customers. The expansion of our Columbus location reflects Whiplash’s responsiveness to merchants’ growing need for fulfillment services that can grow seamlessly alongside them:

“We’re serving a number of new brands from this facility that need centrally located inventory and fulfillment services with room to scale,” said Michael Cleveland, Building Manager at the new Whiplash Columbus facility. “Our mix of B2B and B2C operations in the building allows us to better manage our labor resources during seasonal peaks because high-volume shipping periods vary by channel and type of customer.” 

What our customers have to say about Columbus

But don’t just take our word for it: Let’s take a look at what Whiplash customers have to say about their experience at our Columbus location:

Tuckernuck: The geographic advantage

After outgrowing their last 3PL partnership, apparel brand Tucknuck was searching for technology-led 3PL with optimal facility locations. Growing delays to order processing and fulfillment at their previous provider meant it was taking as long as 7-10 days for orders to be dispatched, making it impossible to meet today’s e-commerce customer expectations for rapid delivery.

a woman wearing tuckernuck apparel with the text ‘tuckernuck: powering rapid fulfilment with custom integrations’

Although initially unsure about a Midwestern facility, Tuckernuck was quickly won over by Colombus’s advantageous location and Whiplash’s superior technology

“Initially, we wanted a facility in the New Jersey area because this gave us easy access to our inventory stored in Washington D.C. But being in Columbus has turned out to be a huge advantage, due to the central location and short delivery timeframes to most regions. Right now, the majority of our customers are located in Texas or the  East  Coast, which gives us plenty of room for growth in the Midwest. The complete inventory visibility via the Whiplash platform has meant it hasn’t been necessary for Tuckernuck to be right next door to our warehouse.” Jon-Mark Craddock, Director of Logistics at Tuckernuck.

Free Fly Apparel: The best e-commerce technology

Free Fly Apparel was looking for a 3PL with an in-depth understanding of both their industry and their mission. The outdoor performance clothing brand wanted a partner that was steeped in the apparel industry and could manage an established retail distribution business as well as a thriving direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment channel.

With a complex hybrid retail operation, Free Fly Apparel knew that simply flipping a switch wasn’t going to be the best approach. Whiplash built a staggered onboarding process at the Columbus, Ohio location, with the brand’s e-commerce and wholesale channels launching a week apart in October 2021.

woman looking from the back of a truck at a body of water. text over the image says ‘ready to scale? how whiplash got free fly apparel ready for the holidays.’

“The team at Whiplash did a fantastic job of taking a very complex process and presenting it as straightforward as possible. As a brand-new facility, the Columbus location was able to completely accommodate our needs. Whiplash struck the perfect balance between keeping us in the loop so we felt confident during the transition and not bogged down with all the technical details.” Mary-Chelsea Banister, Senior Manager at Free Fly Apparel.

A growing network of facilities

The opening of a third Columbus location is not the end of the Whiplash story. As e-commerce sales and rapid delivery expectations continue to rise, brands that rely on strategically located fulfillment centers will have a significant competitive advantage in an increasingly digital retail environment. As Whiplash continues to expand thanks to its recent acquisition by Ryder, customers can feel confident that their fulfillment operation will go from strength to strength by tapping into an even larger network.

“Now with a national footprint of 24 facilities spanning the East and West Coasts, the Whiplash network is at the disposal of growth-focused brands who require both centralized and multi-node fulfillment strategies to meet consumer demand,” said Brian Weinstein, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Whiplash. “This can make all the difference to retailers’ ability to satisfy customers in a rapidly evolving retail landscape.”

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