MISSISSAUGA, Ontario -- Wal-Mart Canada here, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., said recently that a third-party logistics company is constructing three 1 million-square-foot distribution centers to serve the retailer's growing needs in Canada.
The new DCs, each the length of 10 football fields, will be located in Calgary, Alberta, and in Brampton and Cornwall, Ontario, and will eventually be used to consolidate distribution operations and to service all the retailer's Canadian stores, including new stores under construction in Yorkton and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
"The goal is to have all the new stores supplied by the [new] DCs," said Andrew Pelletier, director of public relations for Wal-Mart Canada.
"Cornwall is currently under construction and is expected to be finished in the spring of 2000," said Ron Tomiuck, president of Supply Chain Management Inc., Toronto, a member company of the third-party logistics company, Tibbett & Britten Group, Etobicoke, Ontario, which is constructing the DCs for Wal-Mart.
Tibbett & Britten Group has an agreement to handle all of Wal-Mart's distribution needs in Canada. "Calgary is to be started shortly and should be ready by the summer of 2000 and Brampton should be fully operational by the early summer of 2001," Tomiuck added.
The new DCs should be able to support any growth in the retailer's operations over the next three to five years.
"It's [an] awfully expandable design," Tomiuck said, noting that the new DCs will take advantage of efficiency-enhancing supply-chain technologies. The new distribution centers will be using real-time warehouse-management systems at all three locations -- a WMS developed in-house by the retailer.
Each warehouse will possess about 8 miles worth of conveyors, as well as use radio frequency technology for sortation, according to Tomiuck.
Some of the older warehouses still use a lot of paper-based and manual processes in their day-to-day operations, according to Tomiuck. Semi-automated pick modules and pick-to-belt technology are also scheduled for use at the new warehouses.