MARKHAM, ONTARIO — Pet Valu Holdings Ltd. officially opened its new state-of-the-art 670,000-square-foot distribution center, called GTA DC, on Sept. 13. According to the company, the GTA DC represents a key milestone in Pet Valu’s nationwide $110 million supply chain optimization project.

Located in Brampton, Ontario, the facility will allow Pet Value to further scale automation in the Canadian pet food and supplies industry. According to the retailer, the GTA DC is the largest robotics automated distribution center in Canda dedicated to the pet industry.

“Today marks a significant accomplishment for our teams, whose meticulous planning and tireless efforts have enabled Pet Valu to take a big step towards building Canada’s strongest pet specialty distribution network,” said Richard Maltsbarger, president and chief executive officer of Pet Valu. “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. 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.”

The facility spans about 11 football fields and is expected to bring 500 jobs to the Brampton area. It features a café, nursing, prayer and training rooms, a driver’s lounge, and an open concept office space for employees. It also includes advanced health and safety features. The facility was built by Orlando Corporation, Canada’s largest privately owned industrial real estate developer.

Beginning in the first half of next year, Pet Valu will introduce automation capabilities to the distribution center, installing Canada’s largest goods-to-person robotics system solely dedicated to pet specialty products, according to the company. The technology will be able to process same-day orders, improve pick productivity by at least 50%, and reduce the retailer’s overall footprint compared to manual picking solutions, according to Pet Valu.

The GTA DC’s warehouse processes, systems and automation capabilities are also expected to reduce costs, drive productivity, improve product availability, speed up order processing, and enhance its customer service for in-store and online customers of Pet Valu.

“Our GTA DC establishes a new benchmark for pet specialty distribution capabilities in Canada,” said Nico Weidel, chief supply chain officer at Pet Valu. “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.”

The GTA DC will be fully operational by the first half of 2024, following a transition period.

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