Associated Grocers of New England said Tuesday it plans a major expansion of its Pembroke, N.H., distribution center that will “dramatically increase the scope and speed-to-shelf” of the products and services it offers.


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The expansion will add 105,000 square feet to the 380,000-square-foot facility, with ground-breaking scheduled for the spring and construction expected to be completed by the end of 2014, the company said. The original distribution center opened in 2006.

According to Mike Burgoine, president and CEO of AGNE, the central element of the expansion will be an automated product movement solution — a multi-shuttle system that will take up less than 5,000 square feet while providing more than 10,000 pick facings, “which is equivalent to approximately 60,000 square feet of traditional warehouse space.

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“With the increase in SKU’s over the past decade, we needed to reduce the number of ‘touches’ to increase our efficiency and maximize the use of our square footage,” Burgoine explained. “This automated technology will help to support additional item growth in a small footprint, offering our customers a vastly expanded selection of food products.”

“It will create logistics results while supporting additional specialty food items and improve service to store customers," said Ken Ruehrdanz, manager of the distribution systems market for Dematic, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company that is supplying the logistics system. "With the implementation of modern methods such as high-density staging of inventory, along with ergonomic Put Wall work stations, AGNE will realize the benefits of a compact system footprint along with efficient and accurate order processing.”

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