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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., based here, is experiencing the smooth operation of the recently launched second stage of the grocer's retail service center in Pottsville, Pa., according to an online column last week by v.p. of consumer affairs Mary Ellen Burris.
Wegmans completed stage one, for fresh produce distribution, over a year ago in a property covering 117 acres and encircled by an interstate highway network. The second building, which measures 300,000 square feet and features a 50-foot ceiling, skylights, and halide lighting, is dedicated to dry grocery products.
According to Burris, the distribution center is largely run by wireless realtime information technology, including computerized tracking, laptops and label printers on forklifts, and voice activated selection. Only one section of the DC, devoted to slow-moving items, has racks and mechanical cranes, with the majority of the groceries in pallets on the floor with no racks, she noted.
The DC handles approximately 200 incoming deliveries come per week, with an almost equal number going out. Wegmans is able to guarantee suppliers a two-hour turnaround time for unloading.
The company's retail service team members undergo 12 to 14 weeks of cross-training in receiving, loading, and palletizing. Functions are rotated during a given shift, which, Burris said, "adds to satisfaction and minimizes injury."
The Pottsville location was chosen because of its central location to suppliers and to serve Wegmans' newer Mid-Atlantic markets, noted Burris.