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September 22, 2023

Cottonwood Distribution was good at what it does. But they were growing and wanted to get even better. With several dozen small retail delivery locations every day to service, Cottonwood wanted to become more efficient - making better use of time, space and other resources in order to better serve, and attract, clients. Hoj Innovations, a Salt Lake City-based warehousing and logistics efficiency expert, had the perfect plan.


The Client: Cottonwood Distribution

Cottonwood Distribution, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a leading logistics and inventory distribution division specializing in serving a network of gas stations, convenience stores, and independent grocery retailers. Operating as an integral division of a large, locally-operated gas station and convenience store chain, Cottonwood Distribution extends its supply chain solutions to a variety of similar clients.

With years of industry experience, Cottonwood has developed a robust system to handle a wide array of goods—from perishables and packaged foods to cleaning supplies and other essentials. The company is known for its high service levels, guaranteeing on-time delivery and efficient inventory management. Its expertise lies in simplifying complex logistical operations, making it easier for retailers to focus on sales and customer service, rather than being bogged down by supply chain issues.

Leveraging cutting-edge technology and logistical insights, Cottonwood Distribution is committed to delivering excellence in all facets of its operations. With a solid track record for reliability and a focus on sustainable business practices, it has become the go-to distribution partner for businesses seeking efficiency, accuracy, and a streamlined supply chain.

The Problem

Warehouse employee at Cottonwood Distribution picks product to fulfill orders from clients

Like many growing companies, Cottonwood Distribution was facing several logistical and operational challenges that were hindering its ability to effectively meet client needs and operate at peak efficiency. One of the most pressing problems was the dispersion of inventory across two separate warehouse facilities. This setup led to a range of issues, each contributing to overall inefficiencies:

Inefficient Space Utilization:Operating from two warehouses meant that Cottonwood Distribution was not using its storage space as effectively as it could. This not only increased costs but also made inventory management more complex.

Redundant Delivery Operations:Due to the split inventory, often two delivery trucks were dispatched to fulfill a single order for a store. This was both economically and environmentally inefficient, increasing fuel costs and carbon footprint, and complicating scheduling and route planning.

Inventory Tracking Issues:Managing inventory levels and accurately tracking items became an unpleasant task with a dual-warehouse system. The separation made it harder to have real-time visibility into stock levels, leading to problems such as overstocking, understocking, or stockouts.

Increased Real Estate and Labor Costs:Operating out of two locations required more manpower for managing, picking, packing, and shipping inventory. This increased operational costs in ways ranging from multiple lease and utility payments to site management, reducing overall profit margins.

Coordination Complexities:Having two warehouses added unnecessary layers of complexity in coordination among warehouse staff, delivery teams, and management, making the operations susceptible to errors and delays.

Recognizing these challenges, Cottonwood Distribution sought to consolidate its operations under one roof to streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Why Hoj Innovations?

Warehouse pallet racking at Cottonwood Distribution provided by Hoj Innovations

When it came to selecting a partner to tackle their logistical challenges, Cottonwood Distribution had several compelling reasons to choose Hoj Innovations:

Local and Regional Market Leadership:Hoj Innovations is not just a service provider but a local and regional authority in warehouse design and logistics efficiency. This close proximity meant better understanding of local market dynamics, quicker response times, and easier coordination throughout the project.

Decades of Experience:With more than 50 years of experience in the industry, Hoj Innovations has a proven track record of providing efficient and effective solutions for warehouse design and logistical challenges. This extensive experience was a strong indicator of reliability and expertise.

Technology-Driven Solutions:Hoj Innovations is known for leveraging cutting-edge technology to address logistical problems. Given that Cottonwood Distribution was seeking to modernize its operations, Hoj's emphasis on technology-driven solutions was a major draw.

Customized Service:Hoj Innovations offered the ability to create customized solutions tailored to Cottonwood Distribution's specific challenges. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Hoj's flexibility in design and implementation ensured that the final system would effectively meet Cottonwood's needs.

Reputation and Testimonials:Hoj Innovations had demonstrable success stories and glowing client testimonials, which added to Cottonwood's confidence in their ability to deliver meaningful results.

Alignment in Values and Goals:Both Cottonwood Distribution and Hoj Innovations prioritize sustainability, efficiency, and excellence in service delivery. This alignment in corporate values and objectives made for a seamless partnership and was a contributing factor in Cottonwood's decision.

Given these considerations, choosing Hoj Innovations was not just a strategic decision but also a natural fit for Cottonwood Distribution’s ambitions to consolidate and modernize their warehousing operations.

The Solution

Pallots of beverages at Cottonwood Distribution in First In, First Out pallet racking solution from Hoj Innovations

Hoj Innovations rose to the occasion by designing and implementing a state-of-the-art warehouse facility tailored to Cottonwood Distribution's specific operational needs. The solution tackled all the problems the distribution company had been facing, from inventory management to delivery inefficiencies.

System Designed and Installed:The core of the solution was a robust new warehouse, intelligently designed to incorporate three decks for inventory storage. This multilevel storage system optimized the available vertical space, substantially increasing the warehouse's storage capacity. To complement this, an automated conveyor system was integrated to facilitate seamless order picking, packing, and distribution processes.

Key Features of the System

  • Three-Deck Storage System: Maximizing the use of vertical space, this design substantially increased storage capacity, addressing the problem of inefficient space utilization.

  • First In, First Out Pallet Racks: With large, heavy and time-sensitive products rotating through the warehouse, Hoj installed massive pallet racking systems capable of storing 21 pallets at any time. As one pallet was depleted, the next would slide into place and become the next pallet from which order items were picked. 

  • Automated Conveyor System: Designed to move inventory items between the different levels and zones of the warehouse, this system accelerated the picking and packing process, making it highly efficient and less labor-intensive.

  • Centralized Control: The new design consolidated all operations under one roof, eliminating the challenges of managing multiple warehouses.

  • Sustainable Design: Energy-efficient systems were implemented, aligning with both companies' focus on sustainability.

Addressing Specific Problems

  • Inefficient Space Utilization: The three-deck storage system optimized the use of available space, allowing for more inventory to be stored in the same footprint.

  • Redundant Delivery Operations: With all inventory consolidated in one location, only one delivery truck was needed for each order, cutting down on fuel costs, emissions and driver costs.

  • Increased Labor Costs: The automated conveyor system reduced the manpower needed for picking, packing, and distributing, thereby lowering labor costs.

  • Coordination Complexities: Centralizing operations reduced the layers of complexity in coordination, making the entire operation more streamlined and efficient.

Through these well-thought-out features and solutions, Hoj Innovations delivered a robust system that not only solved Cottonwood Distribution’s immediate problems but also equipped them for scalable, efficient operations in the future.
 Containers of product for clients zoom along the automated conveyor belt from Hoj Innovations at Cottonwood Distribution  


The partnership between Hoj Innovations and Cottonwood Distribution marked a transformative journey in optimizing warehouse and logistical operations. What started as a two-warehouse system fraught with inefficiencies and redundancies was streamlined into a single, technologically advanced facility. The intelligently designed three-deck storage system maximized space, while the automated conveyor system revolutionized the picking, packing, and distribution processes.

The result was a significant increase in operational efficiency, a reduction in labor and delivery costs, and a vastly improved inventory tracking system. This transformation not only addressed Cottonwood Distribution's immediate issues but also set them on a path for scalable, future growth. It's a testament to how custom solutions, deep industry expertise, and a focus on technological innovation can lead to game-changing results.

Contact Hoj Innovations

Are you facing similar challenges in your warehouse operations? Do inefficiencies and complexities hold back your business potential? Let us help you transform your logistics from a bottleneck into a competitive advantage.

Want to see how we can revolutionize your warehouse operations? Contact us today.

By taking action now, you take the first step toward a more efficient, more profitable future. Don’t let yesterday’s logistics hold back tomorrow’s success. Reach out to us for a consultation and begin your journey toward operational excellence.

HOJ Marketing
HOJ Marketing

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