Kraft Heinz opens new California distribution center

Kraft Heinz opened a new Lathrop, California, distribution center in June aimed at improving fill rate speeds for getting products to customers, as well as reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

The food company partnered with logistics companies Ryder System and Prologis to build the 650,000-square-foot facility.

Prologis and Ryder helped construct a LEED-certified facility that uses solar power, LED lighting and CO2 refrigeration. The building will serve as an infrastructure model moving forward. Ryder will also manage operations and plans to recruit around 100 new employees, according to a Prologis spokesperson.

Kraft Heinz has other long-time distribution centers in northern California, some of which will be consolidated and moved to the new facility, Head of North American Operations Mitch Arends said in an email. The Stockton Dry and Stockton Refrigerated facilities will close, while the original Lathrop facility, a buffer for tomato manufacturing, will stay operational.

In addition, Arends noted the new facility incorporates several operational capabilities outlined in Kraft Heinz’s 2020 operational overhaul plan. This includes adding significant rail capabilities through six rail docks as well as outbound rail capabilities to support its tomato business, he said.

“Rail is a significant enabler,” Arends said.“The ability to maintain a steady flow of Kraft Heinz products made in the central and eastern part of the U.S. will not only help improve the amount of product being delivered to the facility, but we’re able to eliminate the wide variability of the transportation market.”

The rail docks will be serviced by Union Pacific, according to a news release.

Trucking will also be key part of the facility, and the company has worked to improve amenities for drivers and the ability to deliver more volume, Arends added.

“This is just the beginning of multiple investments we’re committed to making across our network over the next two to three years,” Arends said.