To better serve its customers and meet their needs for beef production, Cargill, Minneapolis, is investing $48 million in a new automated order distribution system for its Dodge City, Kan., processing facility. Construction will begin during the fourth quarter of calendar 2013, with the new system scheduled to be operational by spring 2015.
The new order distribution system, capable of holding approximately 155,000 boxes of beef, will be housed in a new 62,000-square-foot building specifically constructed for that purpose. This will increase boxed beef capacity at Dodge City by 130,000 boxes. The new system uses Retrotech automation and Viastore equipment, and replaces a system that has served the plant since Ronald Reagan was president of the United States.
The Dodge City plant supplies beef products to retail, foodservice and processed foods customers throughout the United States and internationally. The new system will allow Cargill to better support its customers and improve the plant's ability to keep highly perishable fresh meat products flowing to hundreds of destinations.
"This new distribution system will benefit our customers by improving order accuracy and on-time delivery, in addition to providing better capability to handle the ever-increasing complexity of product offerings shipped to domestic and international markets," says John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, Wichita, Kan. "Installation of this new system will help us better meet our customers' expectations, something we have demonstrated as a core competency through similar investments made in recent years at our Schuyler, Neb.; Friona, Texas; and High River, Alberta, Canada, beef processing plants."
Operationally, the new order distribution system at Dodge City will deliver increased efficiency, improved reliability, reduced maintenance, lower operating costs, increased capacity and utilization in a more sustainable way due to improved energy use compared with equipment manufactured three decades ago.
"We take a great deal of pride in the products and services we provide to our customers, always mindful that we operate in a highly competitive business environment and they have options," says Keating. "I believe Cargill people do a tremendous job serving our customers, and the proof is when they continue coming back for more of our beef."