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Inside the new Canadian Tire distribution centre

Posted on Tuesday April 24, 2018

Canadian Tire Corporation’s (CTC) new Distribution Centre (DC) in Caledon Ontario opened in July 2017. The DC was designed to replace CTC’s Brampton DC, supporting Canadian Tire Retail. We recently asked Karen Adie-Henderson, Associate Vice-President Bolton Operations, a few questions about Canadian Tire's new DC in Bolton. 

What are some of the benefits of having a distribution center in Bolton?

When picking the location of the DC, several factors were considered. Ultimately, the location was chosen due to its proximity to major transportation corridors, including easy access to CP and CN intermodal terminals and the 400-series highways.

What are some of the innovative/green technologies that have been used in the DC/site? (Are you LEED certified?)

Every aspect of the DC has been built to meet the needs of our employees, the environment and our growing business. The facility has many ground-breaking ‘green’ features, including: LED lighting located throughout the building, which consumes less energy and provides better quality light; and an integrated storm water management system, which collects and redistributes rain water for irrigation of vegetation surrounding the DC.

In 2018, the DC will operationalize hydrogen powered lift trucks, which is significantly more energy efficient than traditional battery-powered lift trucks. The hydrogen will be produced onsite through water electrolysis, making Canadian Tire the first Canadian retailer to produce its own hydrogen.

These green initiatives, among others, are what helped the DC become the first DC in the CTC network to be LEED® certified.

What are the top 3 skills you look for when hiring employees?

When hiring new employees for our DC, there are many skill sets considered, depending on the position being filled. Overall, the top three skills we look for are:

  1. Results oriented: We expect our DC employees to be team players and deliver exceptional customer service to our Associate Dealers with the highest safety standards in mind.
  2. Ability to learn and improve: In our fast-paced, dynamic business, we are constantly driving continuous improvement and supporting new business initiatives, which make the ability and willingness to learn and improve important.
  3. Affection for the Canadian Tire brand: Understand and have a passion for Canadian Tire’s pursuit in providing Canadians with the Jobs and Joys of Life in Canada.

What is the most exciting part of your job at Canadian Tire?

One of the most enjoyable parts of my role is driving changes that make a difference for employees and our business each day. I find it incredibly rewarding to lead the outstanding group of employees we have in Caledon. Our move to the new DC was a lot of work, and I couldn’t be more proud of how our group led through the transition.

Is there a fun/interesting/unexpected fact about the staff/you or the site you would like to share?

At Canadian Tire, there are several fun traditions. One of the Company’s oldest traditions – started by the Billes brothers, Canadian Tire’s founders – is to send a gift box to each employee across the Company during the holiday season. Another one of my favourites is the annual Employees for Jumpstart campaign. This is where employees participate in a week of fun events to raise money for Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in order to provide inclusive play for kids of all abilities.

Finally, our newest tradition at the DC is our participation in the Bolton Santa Claus Parade. Since our first parade two years ago, the number of employees participating has grown, and our float is getting better with each year. I, along with many other DC employees, love meeting members of the Caledon community and look forward to participating in this event for the years to come.

The state-of-the-art facility – equipped with the latest concepts in distribution material handling technology – employs nearly 1,000 people. These jobs range from order pickers to varying maintenance/mechanical roles, and include the highly-skilled jobs required to operate and maintain key areas of the facility. These areas include the automated tire handling system, automated guided vehicles and the sophisticated conveyor and sortation system.