Governor Laura Kelly Announces 127 New Jobs, $110 Million Investment in Olathe

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that Lineage Logistics is opening a new automated, next generation distribution center for Smithfield Foods, Inc., a vertically integrated food company and the world’s largest pork processor. The $110 million investment will create 127 new jobs in Olathe. 

“Lineage Logistics’ decision to build the Smithfield Foods distribution center in Kansas is confirmation that our central location, strong infrastructure and world-class workforce are exactly what companies need to expand business operations,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This project is a major win for Olathe and the state as a whole. Their investment helps solidify our role as a 21st century hub for transportation, logistics and distribution.” 

Lineage designed the warehouse to fit the needs of Smithfield’s complex distribution network, which provides thousands of destinations with frequent shipments of food in varying quantities. Spanning nearly 20 million cubic feet, the facility’s innovations decrease the per-pound cost of handling, decrease transportation costs and increase reliability via automation.   

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.” 

Lineage sponsored academic research to determine how to schedule and dispatch components in the facility, increasing throughput capability. Lineage’s technology teams refined the robotic layout in simulation, stress-testing it against high growth, food holidays and panic-buying events. 

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of the state-of-the-art facility that Lineage designed and built for Smithfield in Olathe,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, President and CEO of Lineage. “At Lineage, we seek to partner with customers who are dedicated to transforming the food supply chain and, by leveraging our innovation and expertise, Smithfield will optimize their operations for speed, efficiency and cost savings.” 

“Our new facility in Olathe represents the pinnacle of supply chain technology. It combines innovations in robotics, numerical simulation, thermodynamics, algorithms, computer vision and software to enable reliable and efficient access to food,” explained Sudarsan Thattai, Chief Information Officer and Chief Transformation Officer of Lineage. “Olathe is the foundation of our automated future.” 

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional