During the past five years, DPS developed a system of hubs and spokes â€” a distribution network that radiates out from a center hub and covers a specific geographic territory. DPS operates 21 plants in North America that now includes five regional hubs in Irving, Texas; Northlake, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Aspers, Pa.; Williamson, N.Y.; and Victorville.
“We developed these over the last five years to fill in distribution voids and to fill in our network to be the most efficient at getting products from our plants to our customers,” says Derry Hobson, DPS’s executive vice president of supply chain. “Our whole intent was to produce the largest volume products closest to the customers that we serve. That’s the whole reason that the network took this kind of configuration. … We covered 80 percent of the population in the United States with these five locations.”
The Victorville hub was necessary for DPS because many of the products that the company distributes in its warehouse direct system were shipping from the East Coast, Hobson says. For Clamato, DPS used to source the ingredients in the United States, ship the ingredients to Mexico to make the product and ship the product back to the United States. The new Victorville hub eliminated a plant in Mexico and in southern California along with a co-packer and three warehouses. The new Western hub’s distribution area will include territories from Denver to the West Coast.
“Putting a facility on the West Coast gives us a lot quicker response to the customer, a lot less road miles and a lot less working capital in the system,” says Eric Gold, DPS’s director of engineering.
The new Victorville facility offered a prime location in terms of ground, air and rail transportation. The facility is located in the Southern California Logistics Airport, the former George Air Force base, and is a Local Agency Military Base Recovery Area (LAMBRA), for which the state offers tax credits that reduce the cost of hiring new employees and investing in equipment. The city of Victorville also constructed an industrial wastewater treatment facility to accommodate industrial discharge for food and beverage manufacturing in the area.
In addition to the other logistics benefits, DPS’s largest supplier, Plastipak Packaging Inc., built a new plant in Victorville to make bottles for DPS. “You don’t want to move to a location like that and still ship bottles or materials in from hundreds of miles away,” Hobson says. “Luckily they are a really great company, and they do a great job for us all over the country. They made a pretty big investment themselves â€” $58 million to put a plant in right down the street.”
Built for flexibility
Line four is a can line, which offers capabilities not seen in many can lines, because it is able to fill ambient, hot-fill and CSD products, Gold says. The line fills 8-ounce squat cans to 16-ounce cans. The company will produce some of its CSDs along with Mott’s, Clamato, Snapple and Schweppes products as well as co-packaging products on the line. The can line fills at speeds up to 1,400 cans per minute.
“We do all our heat exchange for our ammonia within that room, and instead of sending ammonia out to devices or a process that requires refrigeration, we use cooling glycol,” Gold says. “We have glycol transferring heat. It is our cooling medium in the plant, so we have safe fluids going outside of that room.”
The facility also includes air rinsers on its fillers, so water consumption is reduced as well.
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