Many companies are moving to North Carolina for business expansion purposes. Meanwhile, the Kroger Co. is the recent among many others trying to make in roads in North Carolina. They plan to build a high-tech warehouse in central North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday.

Advance Fulfillment Center

The objective of building this warehouse is to carry out deliveries for its customers in the growing e-commerce market. Therefore, this new customer fulfillment center will build in Concord through subsidiary Kroger Fulfillment Network LLC. It will use advance robotics, artificial intelligence and automation to collect room temperature, frozen and chilled groceries. Kroger Co. is planning to start operations of North Carolina’s fulfillment center withing next 2 years. Kroger said that in the company’s press release.

700 New Jobs

Kroger Co. is expecting that this new warehouse will create nearly 700 new jobs over the period of next five years. Wages will depend on the job roles and they will vary for different jobs. However, the average annual pay including benefits like healthcare and retirement will be above Cabarrus County average of $41,255 per year. The total impact of this project on the region will reach more than 29 million people each and every year.

Customer Centric Approach

The Kroger Co. is serving customers across a chain of stores including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, and Fred Meyer, among many others. However, Kroger Fulfillment Network, LLC (KFN) is a subsidiary which is leading the project. KFN is company’s largest project in United States. It is a vertically integrated network for ambient, chilled and frozen groceries. Moreover, application of technology will allow affordable, friendly and fast delivery of fresh food and essential households to the customers.

“The acceleration of our delivery business continues with the development of an additional customer fulfillment center, advancing our commitment to creating career opportunities and serving shoppers fresh food fast through interconnected, automated, and innovative facilities and last-mile solutions across America,” said Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger’s senior vice president and chief supply chain officer.

Toyota Motors North America has announced its plans to build $1.29 billion electric vehicle battery production facility in North Carolina. Moreover, Toyota is now among the list of many companies who have decided to move a critical part of its supply chain from an offshore location.

Battery Production for 1.2 Million Vehicles

The new facility will be Toyota’s first battery production unit in North America. Therefore, it will support Toyota’s 14 auto manufacturing plants across United States and Canada. Currently, Toyota’s is manufacturing its batteries in China and Japan. However, the company is now pursuing a new strategy to use its own battery technology which is in close vicinity of their auto manufacturing plants. Company spokesman Aaron Fowles told ENR that the company will use new batteries  at Toyota’s 10 automotive plants in United States.

The new plant is to be built at the 1,800 acres Greensboro-Randolph Megasite on the border of Randolph and Greensboro counties. Initially, it will have four assembly lines and each line will be capable of delivering lithium-ion batteries for at least 200,000 vehicles. The battery production facility will start production in 2025. Later, Toyota is planning to add two more assembly lines. The eventual plan is to generate battery production for 1.2 million vehicles per annum.

Lucrative Jobs at New Facility

The new facility is expected to create at least 1,750 new jobs in North Carolina. The North Carolina plant will create jobs in fields of engineering, materials science, quality control, and operations and manufacturing. The average salary for these jobs is $62,234. The estimated average salary offered by Toyota will be 64 percent higher than overall annual wage in Randolph County, N.C.

Reshoring is the New Strategy

The pandemic has forced businesses to rethink their strategy. Hence, many businesses are moving the manufacturing back to United States. Reshoring and foreign direct investment related jobs grew from 6,000 jobs in 2010 to 160,000 jobs in 2020. Moreover, 220,000 jobs will add in 2021. Around 1,800 companies are planning to setup new manufacturing plants in United States. The average capital investment for each new job is $1 million. President of Reshoring Initiative stated this in his interview with ENR.

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