Dematic To Lead Major Upgrade For Wholesale Grocery Distributor, MDI

Dematic announced today an agreement to supply Merchants Distributors (MDI), a leading wholesale grocery distributor, with an automated mixed-case fulfillment solution for the upcoming renovation and expansion of their primary operations center.

MDI and its parent company Alex Lee, Inc. are based in Hickory, North Carolina, distributing both food and non-food grocery items to more than 600 retail stores across the United States and other locations. It is a company with a culture that highly values its employees and community. MDI is also aggressively customer-focused, adding 33% more stores with sales growing at 45% over the past five years, which has led to the need to expand their current facility located in Caldwell County, North Carolina.

Recognizing the need for greater efficiencies, MDI sought advanced technology from Dematic that would allow them to reallocate existing employees to more productive, more ergonomic and better-paying positions. The 200,000 square foot expansion to their ambient-temperature facility and increased capacity will result in a net gain of 111 jobs.

“We are excited to continue to grow in Hickory where we were founded nearly 90 years ago,” said Brian George, Chairman and CEO of Merchants Distributors. “The quality of life and the business support from North Carolina and our local community makes the Hickory area an ideal location to continue to grow our business.”

MDI’s Solution: The Dematic Flexible Mixed-Case Fulfillment System

When completed, Dematic iQ software will manage and control an automated system that will palletize 165,000 cases per day (up from the current 125,000), with capacity to reach 200,000 cases per day to accommodate future growth. The pallets themselves will be more densely packed and shelf-ready for the quickest possible stocking at the stores — all this resulting in a safer, more efficient work environment.

“Our partnership with MDI hits the sweet spot for us,” adds Michael Larsson, EVP, Dematic Americas, “The solution will generate growth, improve service and empower employees — these are exactly the goals we have when making a proposal, and we will be thrilled to deliver on them for MDI.”

The Dematic Flexible Mixed-Case Fulfillment System will feature a Dematic high-bay unit load AS/RS for pallets, the Dematic Multishuttle® for case buffering and sequencing and Dematic RapidPall® palletizers to automatically build mixed-case pallets. In addition, a goods-to-person piece picking module will be integrated to deliver smaller order quantities. The full system, managed and operated by Dematic software, creates a highly effective compact mixed-case handling solution.

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About Dematic

Dematic is an intralogistics innovator that designs, builds and supports intelligent, automated solutions for manufacturing, warehouse and distribution environments for customers that are powering the future of commerce. With engineering centers, manufacturing facilities and service centers located in more than 25 countries, the Dematic global network of 10,000 employees has helped achieve more than 6,000 worldwide customer installations for some of the world’s leading brands. Headquartered in Atlanta, Dematic is a member of KION Group, one of the global leaders in industrial trucks and supply chain solutions, and a leading provider of warehouse automation.


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