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Lineage Logistics Establishes Olathe, Kansas, Distribution Complex

Lineage Logistics is opening a new automated, next generation distribution center for Smithfield Foods, Inc., a vertically integrated food company and the world’s largest pork processor in Olathe, Kansas. The $110 million project is expected to create 127 jobs.

Lineage designed the warehouse to fit the needs of Smithfield’s complex distribution network, which provides thousands of destinations with frequent shipments of food in varying quantities. Spanning nearly 20 million cubic feet, the facility’s innovations decrease the per-pound cost of handling, decrease transportation costs and increase reliability via automation.

“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, efficiency and cost savings.”

At the facility’s core are 18 automated cranes that move inventory into, out of and within the facility, which also features one of the largest temperature-controlled layer-picking systems in the world, according to state officials. Layer-pickers disassemble and reassemble pallets of goods, a process previously performed manually. As a result, the robotics and software fully automate over 97% of the product movement through the facility.

“This advanced, state-of-the-art, fully-automated new facility speaks volumes to the innovation we are excited to have in the state, said Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland. “Both Lineage and Smithfield exemplify the type of businesses we are working to attract and retain, and we are excited about their new investment in Kansas.”

Lineage sponsored academic research to determine how to schedule and dispatch components in the facility, increasing throughput capability. Lineage’s technology teams refined the robotic layout in simulation, stress-testing it against high growth, food holidays and panic-buying events.

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