London Logistics Facility Upgrades

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The LCBO operates five distribution centres, located in Toronto, Durham, London, Ottawa and Thunder Bay, which serve a network of more than 1,200 outlets in Ontario – including LCBO stores, Agency stores, Beer Stores and, starting this year, grocery stores. These facilities process more than 100 million cases a year – and volumes are growing.

As our retail business has expanded, we have made several wise, but measured,  logistics investments in parallel. Over the course of many years, we’ve added new technologies and mechanization to ensure we’re delivering products − from near and far − to our store shelves and wholesale customers as efficiently as possible.

While our facilities at Durham and Ottawa have been the focus of most of the upgrades and efficiency improvements recently, in 2015-16 it was the London Retail Service Centre’s turn. The distribution centre, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2016, underwent a construction project that added 55,000 square feet of staging area. It was the most extensive construction project in its half-century history. In addition, 22 shipping doors were added and the yard was reconfigured to accommodate an additional 44 trailers and shipping containers.

As a result of this series of upgrades, the facility’s potential throughput rises to 95,000 cases a day from 75,000 previously. The increase is all the more important as London is expected to take on additional volume as Durham reaches its maximum throughput capacity, which is forecasted to occur within five years. Improving the operations was also important because the London facility is a key component of LCBO’s business continuity plans.

There are several areas being investigated to further improve the operations in London. Studies are underway to examine the potential of introducing LCBO’s own, award-winning autopalletization system, already in use at Durham, as well as laser-guided forklift vehicles.

The more efficiently we can flow products to stores, the more our retail employees are able to offer an outstanding customer experience and the LCBO can maximize its dividend transfer to the government.