Pet Valu opens new DC in Ontario

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by Emily Atkins

Pet Valu Holdings Ltd. has opened  a new 670,000 sq. ft. distribution centre in Brampton, Ontario.

From left to right: Richard Maltsbarger, President and Chief Executive Officer at Pet Valu, Brampton City Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor, Nico Weidel, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Pet Valu, David Mckeown, Project Manager, Orlando Corporation and David Wawrychuk, Senior Vice President Engineering, Orlando Corporation.

The new DC is part of the pet supplies retailer’s nationwide $110 million supply chain transformation. It is the largest distribution centre and robotics automation installation in Canada serving the pet specialty industry.

The company plans to invest $110 million over four years to modernize its distribution networks in the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver and Calgary. Progress has also begun in Vancouver, where Pet Valu has signed a lease for a new, near-complete facility, targeting start-up in mid-2024.

“As the largest pet specialty facility in Canada, our GTA DC will benefit multiple aspects of our business through capacity to support future growth, efficiencies to accelerate speed to customers, tailored facilities to support employees, and job creation to support the communities we serve,”said said Richard Maltsbarger, president and CEO of Pet Valu.

“We look forward to enhancing distribution services to our corporate and franchised stores in Central and Eastern Canada, including into our Chico banner in Quebec.”

Built by Orlando Corporation, Canada’s largest privately owned industrial real estate developer and landlord, the GTA DC is approximately the size of 11 football fields and will bring up to 500 jobs to Brampton.

Highlights include a café, nursing room, prayer rooms, training room, driver’s lounge and open concept office space. The facility also employs advanced health and safety features, such as ergonomically designed workstations and equipment.

Starting in the first half of 2024, Pet Valu plans to introduce automation into the GTA DC, with the installation of Canada’s largest goods-to-person robotics installation dedicated to pet specialty products. The design will have the capability to process orders same day, while improving pick productivity by more than 50 percent and reducing the overall footprint compared to a traditional manual picking solution.

The facility’s processes, systems and automation are expected to reduce costs per case and drive productivity improvements as well as provide improved product availability, faster order processing, and overall customer service levels for stores and e-commerce customers.

“Our GTA DC establishes a new benchmark for pet specialty distribution capabilities in Canada. In addition to providing a modern supply chain network that can supply our stores with flexible, reliable and accurate service, and world-class on-shelf availability in store and online, the facility supports the individual needs of our diverse workforce,” said Nico Weidel chief supply chain officer at Pet Valu.

Pet Valu expects the GTA DC to be fully operational by the first half of 2024, following a phased transition period. The facility is currently commencing receipt and shipment of bulk items such as dry pet food and litter.

Once installation and setup of automation equipment is complete in early 2024, receipt and shipment of piece-pick items such as toys and collars will transition over to the GTA DC.

The company will scale down use of its legacy distribution facilities and third-party storage space in the Greater Toronto Area throughout these phases. The GTA DC serves as one element of Pet Valu’s nationwide supply chain transformation strategy. Commenced in 2022, the Company plans to invest $110 million over four years to modernize its distribution networks in the Greater Toronto Area, Vancouver and Calgary. Progress has already begun in Vancouver, where Pet Valu has signed a lease for anew,near-complete facility, targeting start-up in mid-2024.

Pet Valu has over 750 corporate-owned or franchised locations across the country.