By Steven Feldman
Tunnel Hill, Ga.—XGS, the company better known as Xpress Global Systems, may be as good a gauge on the economic recovery as any company out there. According to Tom Hardy, vice president of sales, shipment levels during the third week in May, the week before Memorial Day, were at their highest point since mid-March. Admittedly, business dropped 60% at the trough of the slowdown, but the latest stats only lend credence to the sentiment that there exists plenty of pent-up demand for flooring.
For those who may be a little late to the party, XGS is the leading third-party logistics provider to the floor covering industry. The company normally operates 24/5 and until 1 p.m. on Saturdays for swaps. “Depending on the time of year, we pick up 60-80 full truckloads of freight every day out of Dalton and surrounding areas,” Hardy said. “We handle 70% carpet, 30% pallets—which probably amounts to about $2 billion worth of material each year.”
A visit to the 100,000-square foot facility reveals the scope of the operation. There are 100 doors—96 of which are operational. “They keep turning all day long; those doors don’t stop moving,” Hardy said.
The location is a consolidation facility, Hardy said. “About 80% of what we ship comes through this service center. We bring everything here from all the big mills in the area then consolidate and dispatch. If we have 45 different rolls going to Chino, Calif., we’ll unload and consolidate them here, send it to our service center in Chino and then they deliver it to the customer.”
A wide footprint
XGS services all the major mills: Shaw, Mohawk, Engineered Floors, Phenix, Mannington, etc. Therein lies a big advantage for retailers who can consolidate their orders from multiple mills via one shipment and save on freight. “So, instead of paying five or six different mills and having five or six deliveries, you receive one delivery with everything on it,” Hardy said. “One person, one truck, one good schedule time.”
Drop trailers are left throughout the Calhoun and Dalton area at all the mills. “We leave them at their facility, they load them and let us know when they’re ready, and we pick them up and get them routed to their destination,” Hardy said. Product that arrives in Tunnel Hill is usually turned around within 12 hours at the most; some are gone within two hours, according to Hardy.
Another service XGS pro vides is the warehousing piece— something that retailers who lack space for inventory can take advantage of. “If you want to buy a container, we can pick it up, unload it in our warehouse and store it until they need it,” Hardy said. This affords any retailer the ability to take advantage of discounted prices on large buys. “They can make a volume deal and put it in one of our warehouses for $0.03 a square foot per month.”
Aside from providing multiple services to retailers, XGS is an equally strong partner to the mills. “Their core competency is manufacturing floor covering,” Hardy said. “Logistics can be complicated and costly, if you want it to be. We will carry it, warehouse it, distribute it. We can cut it, we can manage your returns process—we will do everything you don’t want to do.”
As for the large mills with their own fleets, XGS will often go where the others prefer not to, so they can assist them, too.