Tour hits two DCs in one day

by Array

Supply chain professionals got an inside look at two distribution centres during a Materials Handling and Management Society of Ontario (MHMS) all-day event December 1.

Calyx Transportation Group president Douglas Harrison kicked off the event with a talk focusing on industry trends in 2011. Technology, greening the supply chain and the availability of skilled workers will remain among the issues on the horizon for supply chain professionals, he said.

About 70 people attended tours of the Home Hardware distribution centre and the Tim Hortons DC. The first stop was at the 1.3-million-sqf Home Hardware facility in St. Jacobs, which employs 1,200 staff and services 597 stores across Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. The facility houses $107 million in inventory.

Material handling systems at the centre include:

•    counterbalanced, reach and swing-reach lift trucks;
•    two horizontal carousel systems with light-directed picking; and
•    a five-kilometre conveyor sortation system.

The tour’s next stop was the 170,000-sqf  Tim Hortons DC, which opened in Guelph in 2006 and operates 24-7. The facility uses a rack-supported, high-rise, four-aisle automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) with integrated pick modules. The warehouse is divided between ambient and frozen storage.

The Guelph DC delivers frozen baked goods, coffee, supplies and dry grocery items to 1,280 Tim Hortons stores in Ontario, as well as small wares, such as cutlery, to 3,500 stores across Canada.

The day wrapped up with dinner and talks that included Mike Croza of Supply Chain Alliance Partners, who discussed supply chain innovation and Canadian productivity.

Photo: Employees at Home Hardware’s St. Jacobs distribution centre field questions during a tour of the facility.