JBS USA, Greeley, Colo., announced the opening of a state-of-the-art distribution center at its beef processing plant in Grand Island, Neb.

The first phase of construction on a dedicated 83,000-square-foot structure with 12 loading doors is complete, providing a storage capacity of 35,000 boxes of beef and immediate advancements in JBS's customer service capabilities. The second phase of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2014, resulting in a total storage capacity of 100,000 boxes of beef. The Grand Island beef processing facility produces boxed beef, ground beef and case-ready beef solutions for domestic and global customers.

"Installation of the new distribution center is designed to benefit our customers by improving service levels and overall plant effectiveness," says Al Byers, leader of the JBS USA fed beef business unit. "The system's advanced technology further enhances our ability to meet the unique needs of our customers in domestic and international markets."

Retrotech automation with additional sortation lanes and high-speed palletizers will be installed in February 2014, streamlining the plant's ability to seamlessly deliver products to customers worldwide. The distribution center will also include an advanced combo storage system and Meat Master technology system for increased product consistency and quality. The commissioning of eight Viastore cranes will mark the final phase of construction. The new distribution system will increase warehouse productivity, capacity and utilization, while providing more reliable service through the efficient, sustainable distribution of beef products to customers around the world. The design of the distribution center allows for continual expansion to meet the growing needs of customers.

"We are dedicated to providing the best possible service, selection and value to our customers," Byers says. "The new distribution center will strengthen our ability to remain a reliable and efficient supplier, while consistently meeting the expectations of our customers. Our investment in the new distribution center demonstrates our long-term commitment to the community in Grand Island and our customers who demand loyal, quality service."