With plans in the works to optimize its distribution network in the Pacific Northwest, UNFI announced that it will be building a new facility and expanding another to deliver a better customer experience. The food distributor entered into a long-term lease agreement with a developer in Centralia, Washington, to construct a 1.2-million-square-foot distribution center on approximately 77 acres at 4002 Galvin Road. The Centralia distribution center is located in close proximity to two existing UNFI distribution centers in Tacoma and Portland.
“The construction of Centralia and expansion of our Ridgefield facility represents the first significant step in our optimization of UNFI’s DC network following the acquisition of SUPERVALU, allowing us to better serve all our customers throughout the Pacific Northwest,” said Steve Spinner, UNFI Chairman and CEO, in a recent press release. “These are two tremendous facilities that, once complete, will provide a great working environment for our associates, an improved and efficient layout for inventory management, optimized logistics route planning, and an ability to help us deliver on the long-term synergy goals we outlined as a part of the SUPERVALU acquisition.”
The company hopes that in optimizing its distribution network, it will enhance customer product offerings, create more efficient inventory management, streamline operations, and incorporate best in class technology.
The press release noted that UNFI will also expand its Ridgefield, Washington, facility by 541,000 square feet, bringing the total to nearly 800,000 square feet, which will provide capacity for its growing customer base in the natural, organic, and specialty channel. This facility will deploy a warehouse automation solution that supports the company’s slow-moving SKU portfolio.
Both the Centralia and Ridgefield facilities are expected to be fully operational in the second half of 2019 with customer transition completed in early 2020.
Currently, UNFI operates five distribution centers in the Pacific Northwest: a 944,000-square-foot facility in Tacoma, Washington; a 323,000-square-foot warehouse in Auburn, Washington; 220,000-square-foot and 30,000-square-foot warehouses in Ridgefield, Washington; and a 923,000-square-foot warehouse in Portland, Oregon. Once construction of the new Centralia DC is complete and the expansion of the Ridgefield DC is finished, UNFI plans to close its Tacoma, Portland, and Auburn warehouses, as well as reduce its dependency on outside storage and third-party logistics services.
Keep reading us here at Deli Market News to find out the latest in foodservice and distribution updates.