Sobey's To Build An Automated DC In Quebec

The 470,000-square-foot facility will increase the supermarket retailers' warehouse capacity while reducing overall distribution costs.

Montreal: Sobeys Inc. will begin construction of an automated grocery distribution center in the Montréal suburb of Terrebonne, QC.

The distribution center, scheduled to open in early 2013, will make use of the same state-of-the-art technology used in the company’s Vaughan, ON facility which opened in 2009.

The 470,000-square-foot facility will consolidate all of the company’s dry grocery distribution for the province of Quebec, significantly increasing Sobeys warehouse and distribution capacity while reducing overall distribution costs and improving service to its store network and customers.

"We are taking advantage of the leading-edge technology that is transforming the food business in Europe and in North America, and that will become a must in our industry," says Marc Poulin, president operations, Sobeys Québec. “This significant capital investment clearly demonstrates our intention to support a strong food distribution network and infrastructure in the Québec market."

The facility will integrate Witron Logistik Corp. technology which includes an automated picking and assembly system for improved product selection accuracy and the ability to customize store deliveries according to the unique store layout of each of the company’s retailers.

As part of this consolidation, Sobeys has also announced that it will close its Rivière-du-Loup distribution center and convert its Rouyn-Noranda facility to a cross-docking platform.

The company will also refocus the mandates of its Montréal-North, Boucherville and Québec City distribution centers and is currently evaluating the impact to employees of the changes at those facilities.

Implementation of these changes is planned for early 2013. Announcing the decision two years in advance demonstrates the company's intention to ensure a smooth transition for its employees, retailers and suppliers.

The realignment of Sobeys Québec distribution network aims to improve service at store level and provide customers with a value- added shopping experience unique to the Quebéc food market.