Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Beverage company opens new shipping facility
AUBURN BUILDING WILL IMPROVE FIRM'S DISTRIBUTION
By Martin Luttrell TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
AUBURN — More than 100 dignitaries, visitors and Polar Beverages employees noshed on hors d'oeuvres and sipped beer, wine and the company's own soft drinks last night while touring its new 200,000-square-foot distribution facility.
The newly renovated industrial building off Southbridge Street, under a long-term lease from First Highland Management and Development Corp. of Boston, will help the company streamline shipping from its nearby manufacturing facilities on Southbridge and Wolcott streets in Worcester, said Christopher J. Crowley, treasurer and executive vice president of Polar.
"We've moved in and put in racks" for holding products. "We hope to be fully operational in a couple of weeks," he said, adding that the company has moved temporary shipping operations among leased buildings in Auburn and Worcester.
"Our logistics people have moved large quantities of inventory four times in the last 18 months," Mr. Crowley said. Some warehouse and distribution operations will be consolidated into the new building from a facility near Brockton, he said.
The new building is just across the Auburn line, about a quarter mile from the company's Southbridge Street, Worcester, headquarters.
"We turn our inventory every two weeks, and we make about three and a half million cases a month. There are 200 trailer trucks a day … moving product to one of our warehouses in Worcester or Boston. The planning is so critical, because we produce 2,000 items, between our New York operation and our Worcester operation."
The fourth-generation family-owned company, founded in 1882, owns, bottles or distributes many well-known brands that are not commonly thought of as being under its umbrella, including Snapple, Waist Watcher drinks, Arizona and Nantucket Nectars. Polar has also acquired the rights to manufacture or distribute many national brands such as 7UP, Sunkist, Royal Crown and Diet Rite.
Polar has more than 1,200 employees, Mr. Crowley said.
A 112,000-square-foot addition will be built onto the westerly side of the building later this year, extending to Interstate 290, he added.
"We'll have 50 truck bays when the addition is done. There are about 30 here now. It's all about logistics and moving product. We have about 200 loading docks among all our buildings.
"We compete with the best people in the world. Coke and Pepsi are formidable companies. To be able to be successful against these guys is hard. There aren't too many people like us around the country."