Friday, March 6, 2009

Unilever Grand Opening Event

Unilever, Duke Realty and Shipper's Warehouse joined to open the Wilmer Distribution Center Friday. Wilmer Mayor Jeff Steele cut the ribbon on the new 850,000 square foot facility. Steve Innes, Sr. VP Unilever - US made several announcements at the grand opening event held Friday, March 6 at 9:30AM. Local government leaders also had a few remarks to share about the potential of a long lasting relationship with Unilever.

A couple of interesting statistics from Duke's Project Manager: if set on end, the building would be taller than the Empire State Building; and the capacity of the warehouse is creatively measured at 1.4 Trillion golf balls.

Mayor Marcus Knight of Lancaster and Mayor Artis Johnson of Hutchins also attended the ceremony. Representatives from Rep. Helen Giddings' office and Royce West's office attended the grand opening event as well. Wilmer City Council members attending included Marlena Dyess, Eugene Lowe, Tiny Lange and Mayor Pro Tem Matias Leal. Sunridge Business Park developer Mike Rader also could be found in the crowd of around thirty business ad community leaders.

The warehouse operation while not "fully automated" is streamlied and computerised at each forklift with RFID and barcode scanning of pallets and warehouse locations. The warehouse floor seemed filled to about half capacity during our tour of the facility, which had temporarily ceased operations for the event.

Approximately 60% of the 100 new jobs in Wilmer were filled when two existing facilities "merged" into the Wilmer Distribution Center. Both foods and consumer packaged goods, are distributed from the Wilmer facility, a first for Unilever's U.S. based distribution. Eighty to 100 trucks per day drop off and/or pick-up full trailers of merchandise. Most trucks spend minimal time at the facility. Nearby residence owners report that noise and disruption at the facility are "minimal".

Local television crews recorded the event.

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