OLATHE, Kan. (KSNW) – Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, announced the opening of an automated, next-generation distribution center in Olathe.

The $110 million investment will create 127 new jobs, according to a news release from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s office.

Lineage Logistics designed and built the new facility to enhance Smithfield’s complex distribution network, which supplies thousands of destinations with frequent shipments of protein in varying quantities. Spanning nearly 20 million cubic feet with over 62,000 pallet positions, the distribution center’s innovations provide new levels of operational efficiency and reliability via automation.

“Automation is increasingly important element of our strategy to achieve efficiencies across our business and exceed customer expectations,” said Brady Stewart, CEO for Smithfield Foods. “The opening of our new facility in Olathe brings unmatched innovation and new levels of resiliency to our supply chain.”

At the facility’s core are 18 automated cranes that move inventory into, out of and within the facility, which also features one of the largest temperature-controlled layer-picking systems in the world. Layer-pickers disassemble and reassemble pallets of goods, a process previously performed manually.

As a result, the robotics and software fully automate over 97% of the product movement through the facility. 

“This advanced, state-of-the-art, fully-automated new facility speaks volumes to the innovation we are excited to have in the state, said Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland.  “Both Lineage and Smithfield exemplify the type of businesses we are working to attract and retain, and we are excited about their new investment in Kansas.”