Since 1965 , O’Byrne Distribution Centers has developed in-depth expertise in a wide range of logistics functions. We continually reinvest in our personnel, our facilities, our equipment, and our technological tools to be able to offer our customers the most accurate and efficient logistics services available.

We simply list our services here for your convenience, but many of our services have honed our skills for particular expertise in dealing with certain industries or product types. For example, many of our competitors will state that they offer public warehousing services but few have developed an expertise for handling high value and sensitive items like electronics. Please view our “Case Studies” page for further examples of specialties we’ve developed, or contact us for information relating specifically to your company’s unique needs.

ODC’s services include:

  • Public Warehousing & Distribution
  • Contract Warehousing & Distribution
  • Fulfillment / Pick & Pack
  • E-Commerce Fulfillment
  • Packaging
  • Reverse Logistics
  • LTL & TL Transportation
  • Assembly
  • Pool Distribution / Cross Docking
  • Storage (Seasonal & Long Term)
  • Labeling
  • Forms Management
  • Transloading (Rail – Truck)
  • Just In Time (JIT) Manufacturing Support
  • Freight Consolidation
  • Freight Invoice Auditing
  • Specialized Material Handling (Clamps, Booms, Attachments)
  • On Site Inventory/Labor Management

Outsource with O’Byrne

Should you outsource warehousing? Can a third-party logistics company (3PL) provide equal, or perhaps better, competency in this area of your business than what in-house operations already deliver?

Questions such as these were addressed and answered at this year’s Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. Speakers from 3PLs and end user companies presented insights and case histories to WERC members from both the private and public warehousing and logistics sectors.

To begin, there is no question, outsourcing clearly works well for many companies. Nabisco, for example, with annual sales of $9 billion, spends more than $200 million a year on third party warehousing and transportation services, says Rick Blasgen, vice president, supply chain. Nabisco has formal links with more than 100 third-party firms, he adds.

“Outsourcing …creates organizational agility. It is more cost effective.”

Why does Nabisco outsource? To leverage 3PL capabilities to improve total supply chain performance, says Blasgen. Outsourcing allows his internal logistics organization to provide greater value. It also increases flexibility and customer service. It creates organizational agility. It is more cost effective. And Nabisco can focus on its core competencies, he concludes.

A successful 3PL transition
Changing the culture of a company long accustomed to running its own warehouse operations is one of the major challenges to transitioning to a 3PL, however. So observes David Brouse, general manager, distribution, Carpenter Technology. A newcomer to Carpenter, he also faced the personal challenge of being new to the company’s industry, which involve making and distributing specialty alloys.

Moreover, Brouse was tasked with not just paving the way to 3PL operations, but implementing a complete redesign of its logistics network. The 3PL chosen would have to build and then operate new facilities within a year. Old warehouse buildings would need be closed.

Carpenter, a 110-year-old company had conservative roots. It also had an 80 year history behind its distribution network. To be right for Carpenter, a 3PL would have to have a similar mentality. The 3PL also would have to focus on driving value on into the new network and be willing to tailor its approach, says Brouse.

Kenco Logistics Services became that 3PL. Next day shipments are now at 92%, up from 71% under the private distribution network. Although reducing costs “wasn’t a key driver” behind the transition to a 3PL, Carpenter has experienced cost avoidance savings of about 28%. And inventory is down 20%, says Brouse.

Managing demand peaks
Turning to a 3PL is sometimes seen as a means of dealing with seasonality in demand. The alternative, keeping this peak business in house, has its drawbacks. There are people issues, for example, “Short-term, reactive strategies leave you vulnerable,” he argues, “Can you find, train, and effectively manage a temporary work force?” he asks. These workers are likely to be less reliable. And there’s more turnover.

Significantly, relying on an in-house, peak volume strategy then leaves the company most exposed at a time when customer service is most critical.

Other in-house issues include making advanced plans to access additional equipment – forklifts, for example. The price tag for this extra equipment on a short-term lease will be “hard to swallow”,he suggests.

Using 3PLs … “you pay for only the space and labor you actually use.”

Building enough in-house capacity to handle peaks also could push distribution cost disproportionately high, he continues. Companies leasing outside space on an as-needed basis may find it difficult to forecast all their spikes in demand, and then difficult to find short-term leases.

And for those who would try to “shoehorn more in-house activity into existing space,” he asks, “Do pilots serve coffee on your airplane?”

Instead companies might consider using 3PLs that are operating in a multi-client, variable cost environment. Contracts with these third-party providers are flexible. “You pay for only the space and labor you actually use,” he says.

Even Wal-Mart supplants its own DCs with 3PLs for seasonal overflows and for forward buys. Nortel partners with 3PLs when it must move into and get out of markets over a two-week period for special offers.

Due to outsourcing, investments were able to be focused on sales/marketing and product development, not warehousing.

Outsourcing warehousing has proven to benefit L.E. Mason, a maker of electrical construction, outdoor weatherproofing, and lighting products. Minimal capital outlay in buildings and systems was necessary, notes L.E. Mason vice president Ralph Smith. Due to outsourcing, investments were able to be focused on sales/marketing and on product development, not warehousing.

Designing flexibility into its distribution, he continues, has allowed L.E. Mason to:

Focus on its core business

Manage varying demand levels efficiently

Adapt with agility to marketplace changes and requirements. Finally, whether outsourced or not, warehousing is moving from a “lliability to be managed,” says Nabisco’s Blasgen, to “a competitive advantage” in one’s business.

Is your warehousing beating the competition’s DCs? Or is it holding your company back from greater sales, higher profits? Is a 3PL in your future?

Case Studies

Philip Morris USA

This Fortune 100 company has entrusted O’Byrne Distribution Centers with the distribution of its finished products for over 30 years. Due to the extremely high value of cigarettes, customers limit their orders to an estimated daily case usage of over 1,200 different line items (SKUs). Individual case picking is extensive and inventory turns are high. Each day, ODC must effectively manage receiving and rotating thousands of cases and hundreds of SKUs, as well as the picking and shipping of hundreds of orders. Each order is unique and requires very close attention to detail, zero damage, FIFO rotation, and individual truckload or LTL shipping requirements. Accuracy and organization are of critical importance given the fact that even a single receiving, picking, or shipping error can cost ODC a thousand dollars or more per case. As with many of the other accounts we handle, the stakes are high but O’Byrne excels at meeting Philip Morris’s detail-oriented demands through hiring only the most capable individuals and then training and motivating them to work as a team. Everyone is expected to hold high standards and to take responsibility for the success of the “total” operation.

Outsourcing distribution through O’Byrne has allowed Philip Morris to remain “lean & mean” in the competitive tobacco business. Fixed costs like property, buildings, trucks, etc. remain off of their balance sheet, greatly improving ROI, while O’Byrne takes responsibility for managing the details of getting the right products to the right places at the right time. Philip Morris is free to invest in things like marketing and new product development, which increase market share, instead of things like hiring, training, and managing, which don’t.

O’Byrne is required to file monthly inventory reports with the state for tax purposes and the state conducts surprise inspections to verify inventory accuracy. These inventory reports, independently verified by the state, prove that O’Byrne’s receiving, picking, and shipping accuracy rate is 99.99996% – a level of accuracy which surpasses all but the best distribution centers in the world. Accuracy on this level can give your company a clear advantage over your competition.

A Large Midwestern Bank

ODC manages this large Midwestern bank’s business forms inventory and makes sure that each of its over 260 locations have all the letterhead, transaction receipts, cashier’s checks, and insufficient funds notices (hopefully you’ve never received one of these little beauties) it needs to operate.

Every day ODC receives over a hundred orders from the various bank locations needing any quantity of the thousands of business forms SKUs in inventory. The vast majority of orders request less than full case quantities of items so “inner” packs or “eaches” are picked, packaged, and shipped same day in parcel-sized shipments. For larger bank locations with numerous people placing forms orders, “mail stop” numbers are placed on each order package (within a master parcel) so they may be quickly separated and delivered right to the desk of the person who ordered the forms.

By consolidating the forms inventory for over 260 locations in one distribution center, the inventory can finally be managed accurately and handled much more efficiently than by having each location or region manage its own forms.

Forms purchases can be made in “bulk” while at the same time keeping the total forms inventory at a minimum. Valuable office space isn’t taken up by unnecessary supply rooms and economies of scale can be brought to bear at every step in the office supply process.

And as with all companies that outsource logistics functions through O’Byrne, this bank benefits by having distribution experts using the latest technologies handle their logistics concerns for them while they focus on their core business. Would anyone expect a bank to set up zone picking controlled by the latest warehouse management software available and supervised by distribution veterans? Banks are financial experts not distribution experts. But through outsourcing with O’Byrne Distribution Centers this expertise and the efficiencies it creates is exactly what they get.


The fine papers division of Westvaco supplies paper in large roll stock and cut-sheet form to catalog and magazine printers worldwide. O’Byrne uses roll clamps to cross-dock this product between rail cars and trucks so the proper materials are on hand when the printer is ready to go to press. Often the time constraints are tight and would threaten to shut down a printer’s line if not met. This type of “Just-In-Time” inventory management saves storage costs but requires a very dependable distribution partner to work properly, and O’Byrne has never failed to deliver on time for Westvaco’s JIT customers.

Some O’Byrne customers buy raw materials in bulk and store them with us so they can utilize their own plant space solely for production purposes. They rely on O’Byrne to make sure their raw materials arrive Just-In-Time for production so that their plant is clear of unnecessary materials, their space and personnel are dedicated to production purposes (creating higher ROI), and so production runs go smoothly.

If your company’s finished products are your customers’ raw materials, you could find tremendous efficiencies through implementing a JIT distribution program with O’Byrne Distribution Centers. Likewise, if your company is a manufacturer and would like to improve ROI while increasing production, you could move your materials offsite to O’Byrne and use all of your facility for production purposes. O’Byrne can manage the details of getting all the products needed for production to your facility on time. And at the same time, we can pick up your finished products and manage their distribution as well making your facility a dedicated production center focused on what you do best.

Unilever – Best Foods

Bestfoods is the Fortune 500 company behind such well-known products as Mazola, Hellman’s Mayonaise, Jiffy Peanut butter, and many others. O’Byrne handles the nation-wide distribution of many of their products destined for large customers in the food service industry.

O’Byrne is an expert when it comes to Food Safety. We are audited and inspected by AIB Food Safety for cleanliness, documentation, training and procedures – and our Quality Control Systems are ISO 9001:2016 certified.

Our FDA registered and WDATCP certified “food grade” facilities and expertise with detail-oriented case picking are extremely important for this account. FIFO rotation and Lot number tracing are also important to ensure that only fresh products reach the consumer and that manufacturing anomalies can be tracked down and corrected quickly.

By choosing O’Byrne Distribution Centers, Bestfoods gained a distribution partner with decades of experience handling food products for accounts such as Hersey’s, Lipton, M&M Mars and more. And since releases to their customers typically require a high degree of case picking, O’Byrne’s expertise in this area allows Bestfoods to confidently promise high service standards to their customers as a condition of new business and then deliver on their promises – literally!


The internet is a booming marketplace. With the right products, prices, and marketing, ecommerce companies can grow at a much faster rate than the same business model would have been able to even just a few years ago. Utopia is an example of just such a business. With expertise in the most recent digital printing technologies and an internet store front, their new business is beginning to blossom. But managing inventories, and picking and shipping internet orders is not their cup of tea. Instead, they’ve decided to control costs and preserve start-up capitol by outsourcing these functions to O’Byrne. Our systems have been connected seamlessly to Utopia’s internet store front so orders are transmitted to us electronically. O’Byrne manages the quick and efficient fulfillment of Utopia’s parcel-sized orders so Utopia personnel may focus on expanding their product offering and building their e-business.

By having the distribution professionals at O’Byrne manage the “back end” of their internet store front, Utopia immediately gains for themselves the highest quality distribution system without the significant investment in people, systems, space, and equipment that would otherwise be necessary if they were to handle these functions themselves. And just as importantly, outsourcing with O’Byrne frees their management to focus solely on the many issues that must be dealt with in a quickly expanding e-business.

Confrerie des Chevaliers du Testevin

Milwaukee may be known as the beer capitol of the world but that didn’t prevent the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin from using one of our Milwaukee locations for storing their inventory of world class wines. This worldwide organization of wine connoisseurs headquartered in Beaune, France requires its inventory of rare and highly valuable wines to kept in secure and temperature controlled storage conditions pending their sale and/or use by Confrerie members. The wine is extremely expensive and fragile and must be handled only by trained and capable hands.

The Confrerie benefits by outsourcing its storage and distribution needs by reducing the overhead involved in the procurement and distribution of their wines. Outsourcing makes all logistics costs variable, and capital outlays are virtually eliminated. The Confrerie pay for only the services they use each month instead of having fixed full time labor, space, and equipment costs. Expenditures for things like cooler equipment and special shelving, which are capital intensive, are avoided by outsourcing and capital is preserved for the Confrerie’s primary goal of acquiring the world’s finest wines.

Our History

O’Byrne Distribution Centers, Inc. (ODC) is a leading provider of logistics services such as inventory management, order picking, fulfillment, assembly, storage, and transportation for companies seeking to take advantage of the many benefits of outsourcing their supply chain functions.

ODC is truly a classic American entrepreneurial success story.
Founded in 1965 by Thomas S. O’Byrne, an immigrant from Ireland, ODC faced many of the early struggles which typically confront a fledgling business. But with persistence and hard work O’Byrne managed to win and keep the business of such market leaders as General Electric, Hershey’s, Thomas J. Lipton Foods, Maytag, M&M Mars Candy, Philip Morris U.S.A., R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and others.

ODC’s early success came because of our willingness to provide services which others weren’t, and because of our commitment to performing all of our services with the utmost attention to quality and detail. Maintaining this combination of unique services and attention to quality and detail has allowed ODC to thrive as changes in the marketplace have placed new and higher demands on distribution systems.

More and more customers require tighter inventories with more SKUs as well as quicker deliveries of smaller and more frequent orders. ODC is proud to stand out as the logistics partner that can be counted on to manage the details and the demands of the modern supply chain while allowing its customers to focus solely on their core business.

Today ODC has multiple food-grade facilities and handles the distribution of over 12,000 SKUs and over a BILLION dollars worth of our customers’ products each year. We embrace the mission of giving our customers a very real advantage over their competitors by delivering their products to the marketplace faster, more accurately, and in better condition than any of their competitors.

Contact Us

O’Byrne Distribution Centers
5855 N. 94th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53225

(414) 463-9090 – Phone
(414) 463-4662 – Fax