Industrial

A day in the Digi-Key warehouse

24th August 2020
Alex Lynn

Every day in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, you’ll see planes continually taking off from the tiny regional airport near Digi-Key’s headquarters. More often than not, those planes are carrying a portion of the 20,000 packages that Digi-Key sends to over 8,000 customers around the world in a single day.

By Chris Lauer, Vice President of Order Fulfilment, Digi-Key Electronics

For those unfamiliar, Thief River Falls, Minnesota is a town of just over 8,500 people, in the northwest corner of Minnesota and just 60 miles from the Canadian border. We’re definitely not at the centre of the world, but over 42 years, we’ve developed the infrastructure and partnerships needed to ensure our products reach customers wherever they are, within 24 hours domestically and 48-60 hours globally.

How do we do it? If you walk into the warehouse, what you see is similar to what you’d see at a ballet. Our teams and processes are perfectly synchronized and constantly optimized for speed and quality. What may appear to be a regular warehouse has one key differentiator: every single person who works there knows they are in the people business, and not just the logistics business.

The customer is who drives our logistics business, just like they do with every other part of our company. This mentality challenges the status quo of most warehouses, and our goal is for our customers to say ‘Digi-Key makes it happen’.

Perhaps the most famous example of this can be illustrated with a situation that happened a few years ago with Elon Musk. The famous technology entrepreneur needed an emergency part for his SpaceX launch, but it was a Sunday and Digi-Key was closed. Elon flew someone up to Digi-Key, where one of our employees came in even though the warehouse was closed, and hand-picked and packaged up the part.

The difference at Digi-Key is that for us – it wouldn’t matter whether or not it was Elon Musk. Our dedication to moving mountains for our customers is the same with a world-renowned billionaire as it is for the small hobbyist working out of his garage. Hundreds of stories like this one are woven into the everyday experience of working in our warehouse.

An hour spent working in our Digi-Key warehouse can be a lot of pressure. But at the end of the day, when we walk out of the warehouse, there’s nothing as satisfying as knowing we’ve shipped over 20,000 packages to customers around the world. Each of those packages represents innovation, and by continuing our commitment to our customers, we’re on the front lines of fuelling innovation across the globe.

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