MELVINDALE – A distribution company that has been serving the Midwest since 1929 is going strong. Evans Distribution Systems began as a single warehouse in Detroit and now incorporates two warehousing and distribution companies, three truckload carriers, a transportation management company and a temporary staffing agency.
“We’re a third-party logistics company, which kind of breaks down into three basic areas: warehousing, trucking and value-added services,” said John Evans, Evans Distribution president. Value-added services are exactly what they sound like. When Evans receives some products, it adds value to them. It puts together displays for grocery stores such as Walmart, or it adds new items to make sets, such as the bottles of Crown Royal whiskey during the holidays that come with a set of glasses.
“In terms of warehousing, our stuff goes all over,” Evans said. “We get things from all over the world and send them all over the world.” Evans has six warehouses in the Detroit area, with the one in Melvindale being its second largest. It also has warehouses in Virginia, Colorado and Texas. Evans said about half of the company’s total shipping is automotive related. “We could get the part from Brazil that eventually goes on the car; we could be doing the trucking for the parts,” he said. “We’re the warehouse where all the Ford warehouses ship to, then we sort it out and ship it to the dealers every night.” He said Evans could be anywhere in the supply chain.
Julie Thomas, manager of marketing and inside sales, said business peaks in the summer, and the company is able to add about 100 seasonal jobs during that time. “We employ forklift drivers, truck drivers, processors and floor labor, and, on a smaller scale, we have customer service, sales and accounting representatives,” she said. Thomas said Evans does some very important work for Chrysler, called sequenced-parts delivery. “We pick it up from the manufacturer and it’s already sequenced to go directly on the line,” she said. “It’s all in order, loaded on the truck how it has to go on the line. We have to manage the pickups for the supplier in a very specific order. It’s kind of a high-pressure operation.”
Evans’ website says its mission is “to maintain our position as the acknowledged leader in providing customer-defined warehousing and distribution, transportation, quality inspection and contract packaging services for targeted industries. “We also added staffing services about eight years ago,” Thomas said. “What makes up a lot of our employee count now is where we actually provide logistics-related services, but off site, not in one of our warehouses, but directly for a customer.”
Evans employs about 500 people, with 90 percent in Michigan. It warehouse in Melvindale is just over 400,000 square feet and is Evans’ second largest, behind one in Detroit. “We have about 60 or 70 different customers here ‐ a lot of automotive, but a lot of other things too,” Evans said. A tour of the warehouse proved that. Among the products being held at the time were honey, pizza sauce, robotics that will be placed on an automotive assembly line and several kinds of alcohol.
Thomas said Evans recently had the large dinosaur displays for the now-closed Detroit Science Center in its warehouse and it also moves biological pest control agents, which are good bugs the agricultural industry uses to eat the harmful ones.
Evans also will be launching a government support division. “The new division will help support government agencies and subcontractors with logistics and supply chain management,” the company said in a press release.
“Through this new division, Evans can leverage the knowledge and expertise developed over almost 85 years supporting the commercial sector to bring high-quality solutions to the government sector,” John Evans said in the release. “This is an area where we feel our experience can be a tremendous asset. We are looking forward to collaborating with government agencies over the coming years.”
The Evans warehouse in Melvindale is at 18765 Seaway Drive. Its telephone number is 1-313-388-3200, and the company’s website is easierwithevans.com.