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TriFactor White Papers


TriFactor shares thoughts on effective ways to reduce costs, increase capacity and improve the accuracy of your distribution facility.

Ways to Improve Material Handling Efficiency

Critical Factors when Choosing an Order Picking System


Planning a Warehouse or Distribution Center


Choosing a Conveyor System


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TriFactor Articles

Articles featured in trade publications that highlight our Client Partners projects, TriFactor and information written by TriFactor's staff. 


The Five Most Common Mistakes When Planning a Distribution Center by TriFactor's Craig Bertorello and featured in Supply & Demand Chain Executive (online).  


Seven Factors to Consider When Choosing an Order Picking System by TriFactor's Richard Gillespie and featured in Industrial Distribution (online).


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Material Handling Case Study- APH - Auto Industry Distribution

Company Description

Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc. (APH) is an automotive parts retailer and wholesaler based in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  The family- and employee-owned company serves its network of 115 company stores and independent store customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota.


Auto Parts Distribution, TriFactor, Florida, Material Handling Systems

APH and the automotive parts industry experienced a steady rise in demand and therefore growth.  APH currently fulfills orders for 115 stores, with an expected expansion to 150 stores in the next several years.  In order to meet the needs of their customers, APH needed to increase their storage capacity and explore options for increasing throughput in the St. Cloud Distribution Center.  APH contracted with TriFactor to begin the TriFactor Edge™ process, which starts with an engineering Needs Analysis.


After the initial site visit and collaboration of APH decision makers and the TriFactor engineering team, TriFactor analyzed the collected data and confirmed that APH would benefit from material handling automation.  The data gathered during the Needs Analysis was used to develop a detailed material handling system layout, description of operation, description of equipment and all software, and budget pricing.

Auto Parts Distribution, TriFactor, Florida, Material Handling Systems


TriFactor determined that a 2-level pick module would be the best use of APH’s floor and vertical space for order fulfillment.  To increase throughput, a high-speed sortation system was implemented to move orders from picking to shipping.  Spirals of 24vMDR conveyor were designed to carry orders from the second level of the pick module to the new tote divert sortation system.  To increase APH’s pallet storage capacity, TriFactor demolished the current rack and installed new pushback pallet rack, skatewheel pallet flow rack, and selective pallet rack.  Shelving and carton flow rack were also added to APH’s storage area.  Due to APH’s high-demand distribution center, weekend tie-ins were required on all equipment installations.  This schedule allowed TriFactor’s client to continue business as usual and not suffer from the costly consequences of downtime. 


Auto Parts Distribution, TriFactor, Florida, Material Handling Systems

The project provided APH with the distribution capacity needed for their current and future demand requirements.  TriFactor delivered the system on time and under budget. 


2 Years

Auto Parts Distribution, TriFactor, Florida, Material Handling Systems

System Summary

Automotive Parts Headquarters Inc.


TriFactor Provided:
Needs Analysis
Design Engineering
Rack Demo
Mechanical, Electrical and Controls Installation
Operator and Maintenance Training


125,000 sq. feet


Facility Type:


Products Handled:
Automotive Parts


Markets Served:
North Dakota


Products Utilized:
2 Level Pick Module
24vMDR, Zero Pressure, Non-Contact Accumulation Conveyor
4 Spirals using 24vMDR, Zero Pressure, Non-Contact Accumulation Conveyor
6 Tote Divert Sortation
Pushback Rack
Skatewheel Pallet Flow Rack
Carton Flow Rack
Selective Pallet Rack