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BYLINE: BY DAVID BIEDERMAN AND BILL DIBENEDETTO
The Frisbee may be an American cultural icon, but like the Hula-Hoop and Boogie Board, it's made in China these days. Until last year, Wham-O, which first tossed the famed plastic disc into the market in the 1950s, imported its products from China through a single distribution center in Long Beach, Calif. Its national customer base was well-served by the 300,000-square-foot facility, said Steve Simes, Wham-O's vice president of supply-chain operations. To support its 80:20 distribution model - 80 percent of goods imported into the distribution center and 20 percent shipped directly to customers - the company maintained large inventories.
Not any more. When Corner-stone, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer and distributor of toys and games, acquired Wham-O last year, it turned the distribution model on its head, shipping 80 percent of goods directly to customers. And it chose a different route into the U.S.: through the Pacific Northwest.
Cornerstone moved the bulk of Wham-O's distribution from Southern California to Fife, Wash., which is next door to the Port of Tacoma and about 35 miles from the Port of Seattle. Except for a small distribution facility serving Southern California, all of Wham-O imports now are handled in Fife at a facility operated by Regal Logistics.
By sharing the distribution center with other Cornerstone brands, Wham-O reduced the space it needed by 65 percent. It also enjoys lower transportation costs and greater efficiency because of Regal's proximity to the ports. …