In 2004, food distributors still rely mainly on human beings -- using forklifts, pallet jacks and good, old muscle power -- to move product around warehouses. That may be starting to change, however. Take, for example, the 1.3-million-square-foot distribution center opened this year in Freetown, Mass., by Stop & Shop, Quincy, Mass. It is being described as one of the largest automated materials-handling DCs in the world, and a radical departure from both traditional and automated food ...

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