July 25, 2011

Fun and (LogistX) Games in Louisville

DC Velocity was on the spot as teams tested their warehousing skills at this unusual event.

By DC Velocity Staff

In a warehouse near Louisville, Ky., two teams—one from UPS and one from Genentech—each slalom a loaded pallet jack around an obstacle course consisting of stacks of pallets. The race is neck and neck until the competitors back into each other, causing UPS's parcels to topple and allowing Genentech to pull into the lead.

That was one of many exciting moments during the Louisville LogistX Games, a concept dreamed up by Kevin A. Grove, a senior vice president and partner at the industrial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis. Grove sees the event as an opportunity to celebrate the skills of the often-overlooked warehouse associate and promote Louisville as a logistics hub. This year's Games drew teams from DCs across the Louisville area, including UPS's WorldPort, Best Buy's Geek Squad, and this year's winner, Clark Material Handling Co.

The Games consist of four events carried out in sequence. In the first event, some team members stack variously sized packages on a pallet, while others carefully pack a special box containing a bottle of wine, a bottle of vodka, and, of course, a bottle of Kentucky bourbon, which is then set aside. In the second event, the teams load their pallets onto pallet jacks for a relay race around an obstacle course. Next, they wheel their pallets over to a storage rack, where they vie to be the fastest and most accurate at putaway.

Finally, that special package is trotted out for everyone's favorite event: the Box Put. One player from each team throws the box as far as he or she can. The package is then unwrapped and inspected, with five feet deducted from the distance for each broken bottle. (Supply chain services company Houston-Johnson had a particularly impressive throw this year—nearly 80 feet with just one broken bottle.) The team that performs best overall takes home the coveted Golden Pallet trophy.

The Games are held in several cities, and regional winners compete at a national event in Louisville. But Grove has bigger dreams for the LogistX Games. He wants to see them expanded to 12 more cities, including the FedEx stronghold of Memphis, where he hopes to play off the UPS/FedEx rivalry. Grove also envisions the LogistX Games becoming a charity fundraiser, perhaps for local food banks.

Want to compete? Interested in hosting? Check out logistxgames.com.

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