Excellent service keeps Northwest distribution running smoothly

As one of the nation’s leading grocers, Safeway depends on the efficiency and security of its distribution centers. The Seattle division, which covers stores in five northwest states, consists of three distribution centers in the state of Washington: Spokane, Bellevue, and a new state-of-the-art facility in Auburn. Featured on the television show Modern Marvels, the Auburn distribution center is on a 116-acre facility previously used by the Boeing Corporation to build airplanes.

As one of the nation’s leading grocers, Safeway depends on the efficiency and security of its distribution centers. The Seattle division, which covers stores in five northwest states, consists of three distribution centers in the state of Washington: Spokane, Bellevue, and a new state-of-the-art facility in Auburn. Featured on the television show Modern Marvels, the Auburn distribution center is on a 116-acre facility previously used by the Boeing Corporation to build airplanes.

Today, the site contains a 538,000 square-foot stockroom for dry goods as well as a 515,000 square-foot refrigerated warehouse.  The center in Bellevue also includes a variety of plants to produce Safeway’s private label brands of yogurt and milk products, bread and bakery items, soda pop and ice cream.   All total, approximately 1,000 Safeway employees work at the three locations and the centers are a vital hub in the grocer’s operations.

For the last five years, Securitas USA has provided contract security services to help protect the Seattle division distribution centers.  Currently, a team of about 20 uniformed officers provides round-the-clock coverage to the three facilities. One of their primary duties is to manage and direct the tremendous number of trucks arriving to deliver produce and dry goods, which often need to be kept in a holding area until their loading dock is ready to receive them. On a busy day, the Auburn distribution center alone can receive and unload 175 trucks.  

Officers also perform random driver’s license checks, monitor the close-circuit television system, and mount patrols, which at the Bellevue center include off-site training and IT facilities. The ToCo system – in which an electronic wand makes contact with receivers placed strategically along the patrol route – ensures the thoroughness of each round and provides a patrol report to Safeway’s Terry Swanson, the division’s LP/Security Manager. “The ToCo system is a big benefit:  it forces a perimeter walk which gives a lot of visual deterrence,” notes Swanson.  “The officers are being seen not only by employees, but by others.” While Swanson’s team handles loss prevention internally, the Securitas officers do perform random employee locker and backpack checks.

Securitas officers are also responsible for running the Auburn center’s cutting edge access control system. “I could not do this without the support of Securitas,” says Swanson. “Not only do I not have a large enough staff, but the program requires a lot of thought and development, and the Securitas staff are really the ones who made it what it is today.”  The system requires specialized and ongoing training, which the Securitas on-site account manager has taken on herself, according to Swanson.  

And it is this attitude that makes all the difference. “Our account manager is proactive and has done a great job; it’s all about personality,” he says. “Securitas is committed to the needs of the client – they’ve never said ‘that’s not in our job responsibility.’ Instead, they go far beyond what is in the contract.” 

“We go out to bid every year and Securitas’ price is very competitive, but they also provide top service and they strive for that. Their willingness to develop procedures and daily practices that fit the needs of the client is unique, and they don’t come back and say: ‘this is going to cost more.’ Anyone else would.”

  • Print page

  • Email page

  • Share page