MDI Engineering Division



MDI Engineering Division


Distribution Planning

Concept engineering is more of an “art form” than it is an engineering format!

When designing or redesigning a distribution center we follow a procedure that will most benefit the client for long term usage of their facility. Our philosophy is to concept, design and engineer the entire facility to its maximum output capacity enabling the client to fully understand their growth capabilities. We design for the maximum capacity then pare back to current distribution levels allowing for a 20% increases. This is our unique approach!

In many cases our clients will also subsequently request us to proceed with implementation and project management of the entire system. Of coarse this is always at the discretion of each individual client.

It is our goal to design for long term functionality and not short term solutions. This will create a simple and cost effective integration of future departments and allows for increased growth.

The engineering part of the process is the least expensive segment of the overall system but the most important. It will drive the long term functionality of the distribution center as well as the profitability of the company. It is imperative to have the best designed system possible that will not only be highly functional but give you an excellent ROI.     

The following is a brief summary explaining how we would normally proceed with a project of your type:

Phase 1, Concept Engineering/Design:

  • Initial meeting to determine the number of departments involved and estimated square footage required for each. A  questionnaire is normally provided.
  •  Establish required criteria for each department.
  • Determine current output rates, (cases shipped per day). The number of line items per shipping carton and product sizes is not critical at this time.
  • Develop two or three different concept designs for review. Additional designs would be developed if needed.
  • Finalize a selected concept that will best suit and maximize the operation of the facility and it’s over all projected estimated  performance.  

   Phase 2, Pre-Budget Pricing:

  • After finalizing a selected design and paring down to current shipping levels plus 20%, we would proceed with a pre-estimate for the fulfillment of the project. This would include equipment, electrical requirement, controls and control devices, lighting/exiting, electrical wiring, sprinklers, installation, freight, footings if required, structural reports and permit requirements. We normally try to estimate plus or minus 10% for the entire project including a contingency fund for unforeseen and added items.
  • Product sizes and velocity information would be required at this time.
  • Pre-budgets would require all mechanical equipment and software suppliers to include an estimated cost for recommended spare parts and/or online software monitoring services.


 Phase 3, Final Pricing/Scheduling:

  • Upon approval of phase two we would proceed with (1) complete concept drawings for the entire facility, (2) engineered drawings for the segment to be implemented and (3) firm-up pricing.
  • Final selection of the equipment and service providers. We normally recommend to our clients not to make their decisions solely on price alone but on the quality, and even moreso, the longevity of the equipment.
  • Develop and schedule a plan for the implementation of the new system while keeping your current system in operation.  


Implementation & Project Management:

As mentioned above, in many cases our clients will request us to proceed with the implementation and project management of the entire system. We would have no problem providing you with this service and it is part of our portfolio of services.

Over the years our projects have varied from as simple as a consolidated carton flow system with light transportation conveyors, to as large as a 513,000 square foot facility costing $ 26 million, and requiring 18 months of engineering. The implementation included 130,000 square feet of mezzanines, eight 200’ long three level order picking modules, 7 miles of conveyors, 26 control panels, over 400 trailer loads of equipment, and 8 months of installation and implementations.

With our 35 year history with completing numerous fully functional and profitable Distribution Center, you can feel confident in choosing MDI Engineering Division as your system integrator for your upcoming project.



Thank you,

Ken Mater


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Warehouse Design