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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 - eCommerce Retailer


The US distribution network this e-commerce retailer includes numerous ‘fulfillment centers’ (warehouses) along with ‘sort centers’ and ‘parcel delivery stations’.  The various facilities range in size from 1.2 million square feet to under 200,000 square feet.  The sort centers provide intermediate operations which cross dock packages between truck and air networks, allowing outbound delivery by contracted parcel carrier or their own parcel delivery stations.  The parcel delivery stations provide the ‘last mile’ delivery service.  Last mile delivery is often accomplished through carriers such as FedEx, UPS or USPS, but it is desirable to achieve this distribution without use of subcontractors. 


In 2017, the customer built a 350,000 square foot sortation center in Mobile, Alabama.  The sort center capacity was designed to receive up to eight truckloads simultaneously, and sort 12,000 packages per hour into eight different outbound delivery solutions.  


eCommerce Case Study 1


TriFactor Solutions was tasked to design and install the material handling system.  TriFactor provided a system with four functional areas: small sorts, unloading, primary sort and run-out.  The small sort area includes the use of two automatic gaylord dumpers, each dumping lightweight and small packages to a custom designed manual sort table where associates separate the packages into four different narrow belted conveyors.  The associates stationed along the narrow-belted conveyors then place the small parcels into small-binned carts. 

The unloader area consists of a large platform where eight telescopic extendible belts interface with each of their respective incline belts.  When trucks back up to the receiving docks where these telescopic ‘extendables’ are located, the packages are conveyed up the inclines and deposited onto the main collector belt in order to convey to the sortation area.  The sortation area consists of a large, custom design primary sort platform with seven associate workstations. 

 The conveyor system distributes the inbound packages to each of the associate workstations.  The associates read the labels of each package sorted to them and then place the package on one of four adjacent chutes, each of which are associated with a run-out line.  The run-out lines convey the packages to their final destination within the facility, which is a manual pallet building station where built pallets are then loaded on to trucks for outbound delivery to a parcel delivery station or to their contracted parcel carrier. 


The project was completed on budget and on schedule. The customer now has the ability to sort 12,000 packages per hour, enhancing the quality of its local delivery service, including 1 and 2-day delivery.


2 - 3 Years

System Summary

Customer:  eCommerce Retailer


TriFactor Provided:
Detailed Design Engineering
Equipment Selection and Procurement
Mechanical and Electrical Installation
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Control Systems Programming
Operator Training


Size: 350,000 Square Feet


Facility Type:

Parcel Package Crossdock

Products Handled:

Parcel Boxed Packages

Parcel Soft Packages

Parcel Envelopes


Markets Served:

Direct to Consumer


Products Utilized:

Parcel Handling Belt Conveyor

Package Sortation System

Primary Sort Platform

Unloader Platform

Automatic Gaylord Dumpers

Spiral Gravity Chutes with UHMW Lining

Straight Gravity Chutes

Split Lane Gravity Roller Conveyor

UL Listed Conveyor Control Panels