Forming a pivotal partnership, Smithfield Foods and Lineage Logistics have teamed up to create the meat provider’s newest automated, next-generation distribution center. Located in Olathe, Kansas, the facility will enhance Smithfield’s distribution network and increase its operational efficiency.
“As a major food company feeding a growing global population sustainably, we’re continually working to implement enhancements across our value chain, including our distribution network, to support our customers and reduce our environmental footprint,” said Shane Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smithfield. “We’re pleased to partner with an innovation-driven company like Lineage to further optimize our operations and better serve our customers.”
Lineage designed and built the new facility to meet the needs of Smithfield’s complex distribution network that supplies thousands of locations with frequent shipments, a press release noted. Sitting at almost 20 million cubic feet with over 62,000 pallet positions, the new distribution center offers increased efficiency and reliability through automation.
“Automation is [an] increasingly important element of our strategy to achieve efficiencies across our business and exceed customer expectations,” commented Brady Stewart, Chief Operating Officer for Smithfield Foods. “The opening of our new facility in Olathe brings unmatched innovation and new levels of resiliency to our supply chain.”
The facility includes one of the largest temperature-controlled layer-picking systems in the world.
These systems disassemble and reassemble pallets of goods, saving time and resources. As a result, robotics and software fully automate over 97 percent of the product movement through the facility.
“We are thrilled to announce the opening of the state-of-the-art facility that Lineage designed and built for Smithfield in Olathe,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, President and CEO of Lineage. “At Lineage, we seek to partner with customers who are dedicated to transforming the food supply chain, and by leveraging our innovation and expertise, Smithfield will optimize their operations for speed and efficiency.”
For this project, Lineage sponsored academic research in mathematics to determine how to schedule and dispatch components of the facility, increasing throughput capability.
“Our new facility in Olathe represents the pinnacle of supply chain technology. It combines innovations in robotics, numerical simulation, thermodynamics, algorithms, computer vision and software to enable reliable and efficient access to food,” explained Sudarsan Thattai, Chief Information Officer and Chief Transformation Officer of Lineage. “Olathe is the foundation of our automated future.”
To learn more about this state-of-the-art facility, click here.
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