Farmer Bros. Co., a Texas-based coffee roaster, wholesaler and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products, has opened a 156,600-square-foot distribution center in Rialto.
With 40% of the company’s customers on the West Coast, the facility at 2520 W. Baseline Road will enable Farmer Brothers to fill product orders faster and improve delivery times and customer service.
The company said it’s also expected to reduce maintenance costs with new equipment at the center.
Those efficiencies — combined with the closing of Farmer Brothers’ Houston facility, upgrades to its Dallas-Fort Worth operation and the use of handheld tablets to speed orders and inventory management — are expected to drive improved performance as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rialto facility employs a distribution and logistics manager who uses a third-party logistics firm to staff operations with 12 workers on site. Additional workers will be added as customer demand increases, the company said.
Founded in 1912, Farmer Bros. Co. serves a wide variety of customers, from small independent restaurants and foodservice operators to large institutional buyers like restaurant, department and convenience store chains, as well as hotels, casinos, healthcare facilities, gourmet coffee houses and grocery chains.
The impact of COVID-19
Company spokeswoman Nathalie Oetzel said Farmer Brothers’ direct-ship sales channel was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, although the impact was less than might be expected due to the types of customers Farmer Brothers serves.
“These customers include our retail business and products sold by key grocery stores under their private label, as well as third party e-commerce platforms,” she said. “They have seen moderate increases in demand that have helped mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Oetzel said the company expects revenue will continue to recover as local and national governments ease pandemic-related restrictions and vaccines become available throughout the country.
Farmer Brothers CEO Deverl Maserang said the opening of the Rialto facility marks “a pivotal point” in the company’s turnaround strategy.
“We’re now properly positioned for enhanced post-pandemic performance and will begin to shift our broader strategy from optimization and stabilization to accelerating growth and innovation,” Maserang said in a statement.
A report from ResearchandMarket.com says the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the global coffee market as production, as well as imports and exports of coffee and related products, have decreased significantly.
Still, the market is expected to top $134 billion in 2024. Fueled by an increase in e-commerce buying and an expanding out-of-home coffee-consuming population, the research firm predicts the industry will accelerate at an annual growth rate of 5.3%.
Delivered on time
Maserang said he was pleased to see the Rialto center up and running by the company’s 2021 deadline.
“We began construction on the facility in October, loaded inventory in late December, and by early January of this year we successfully fulfilled our first outbound shipment,” he said. “It will significantly improve our supply chain and customer service.”
With 18 docking doors and 26 trailer storage spaces, the Rialto center will allow products to be shipped via truck, rail, air and ocean. The facility will distribute products to the company’s branch locations. Servicing of equipment will be done through specialized technicians in seven key U.S. states.
Oetzel also said COVID-19 protections are a priority at the Rialto location.
“Masks worn at all times by everyone entering the facility and there are temperature checks for all team members and visitors,” she said. “Other protocols include social distancing during daily operations, appropriate use of protective equipment, good hygiene and health protocols, and regular cleaning of the contact areas.”
Source: Orange County Register