Case studies

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Project Descriptions

  • New Distribution Center (657,000 sq. ft.) - Atlanta, GA
  • Distribution Center Expansion (250,000 sq. ft.) - Atlanta, GA
  • New Distribution Center (620,000 sq. ft.) - Goodyear, AZ
  • New Distribution Center (650,000 sq. ft.) - Conklin, NY

Business Problem

Johnson Stephens Consulting assisted Dick’s Sporting Goods, the largest retailer of sporting goods merchandise in the United States, with the planning and design of two new distribution centers to address regional growth in the southeastern and western U. S. regions. The Atlanta, GA facility was planned, designed and implemented first, followed by the Goodyear, AZ facility 3 years later.

Project Plan

The Atlanta DC planning phase consisted of establishing a long-range distribution growth plan, stores and fulfillment geographic assignments for the new DC, material handling equipment systems (MHE) technology assessments for all operating areas, a comprehensive space planner model, and conceptual and detailed MHE systems design layouts. 24 MHE Technology Assessments were conducted. These included assessments such as comparing very narrow aisle (VNA) vs. narrow aisle (NA) inventory storage; voice-directed breakpack processing vs. put-to-light vs. RF system options; different methods of shipping staging (use cube of facility vs. floor), etc.

Actions Taken

Seven of the 24 technologies evaluated were recommended and implemented. The Goodyear, AZ DC was designed with these improved MHE systems, and also included additional enhancements since the Atlanta DC was implemented. Johnson Stephens Consulting was authorized to proceed to Phase 2 – Detailed Design and Phase 3 – Implementation to support the Dick’s Sporting Goods operations team. This involved a collaborative design process with the client and JSC responsibility for developing the RFP & Technical Specifications, assisting Dick’s Sporting Goods with MHE supplier selection through a competitive bid process, and implementation management. JSC was responsible as project manager to ensure that the MHE systems were implemented on-time and within the capital investment budget and according to issued MHE system contracts. This required the coordination of six MHE suppliers (conveyor, storage rack, mezzanine/work platforms, warehouse control systems (WCS), lift truck and mobile equipment), interfacing with tenant improvement contractors, architect/engineers, and real estate firms involved in base building construction and tenant modifications, to suit the MHE systems being implemented. The Arizona DC followed a similar planning, design, and implementation process.


The Atlanta DC opened on-time, within budget, quickly exceeded the projected operating savings, beat previous throughput standard levels by 25+%, and became the lowest cost per unit DC in the supply chain network within six months of opening. The Goodyear, AZ DC opened and exceeded the Atlanta results and has been the lowest cost per unit DC in the Dick’s Sporting Goods supply chain. Johnson Stephens Consulting was engaged in 2013-14 to plan, design, and implement a 250,000 square foot expansion for the Atlanta DC.