Digi-Key officially opened its 2.2 million square foot Product Distribution Center (PDCe) expansion
Digi-Key Electronics, which offers the world’s largest selection of in-stock electronic components and automation products for immediate shipment, today celebrated the grand opening of its Product Distribution Center Extension (PDCe), expanding the company’s corporate headquarters footprint by 2.2 million square feet for a combined total of over 3 million square feet. The new facility allows Digi-Key to pick, pack and ship nearly three times the previous daily average of 27,000 packages to customers in more than 180 countries around the world.
Digi-Key celebrated the opening event with an official Digi-Reel tape cut and first package delivery ceremony to each of the company’s four partner carriers: DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS . Remarks were delivered by Digi-Key President Dave Doherty, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove, Thief River Falls Mayor Brian Holmer, and several other Digi-Key executives, as well as video messages from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.
“This is an important milestone for all Digi-Key employees and our community,” said Doherty. “The expansion of our new Product Distribution Center will help us continue to deliver excellence to our customers for many years to come. As exciting as this expansion is for us, we hope our customers really don’t notice any difference – the transition for them should be seamless and, where appropriate, result in an even better customer service experience than they are already used to. For us, it’s about deeper roots in Thief River Falls and a commitment to continue investing in this community and in the State of Minnesota.
The PDCe building was designed by Minnesota-based Widseth, and McShane Construction served as general contractor on the project. KNAPP, a leader in logistics and warehouse automation, has partnered with Digi-Key for in-house automation and operational equipment.
“The State of Minnesota is thrilled to celebrate Digi-Key’s growth milestone today,” Grove said. “Growth at this level is a win for Digi-Key employees, it’s a win for the community of Thief River Falls, and it’s a win for the State of Minnesota. The opening of this facility is made possible through local and state economic support that will contribute an additional $500 million to economic output, as well as adding more than 1,000 new jobs.”
The opening of the facility comes at a time of record growth for the company – Digi-Key ended 2021 growing faster than ever with a 65% growth rate, and bookings in 2022 grew by more 25% over last year. This year was also one of the largest years for supplier additions for the company with 250 suppliers already added for the year. Since construction began in 2018, Digi-Key has added 1,500 suppliers and 1.5 million SKUs to its inventory.
The new installation is almost fully automated, the only task actually carried out by hand is the picking of parts. Among the component racks, the carts are wire-guided so the only thing a cart driver will have to worry about is knowing where to stop. The wire-guided system saves more than 10% of the time and is significantly safer.
The product distribution center expansion includes two main conveyor systems to provide redundancy in the event of failure and provide opportunities for future growth. Scalability and growth were central to the plans and design of the new building, and the majority of the fourth floor is currently open at this time. There are more than 27 miles of automated conveyor belts in the new facility, and an average order will travel more than 3,200 feet inside the building.
The building includes six emergency diesel engines and pumps as well as a constructed water tank for extinguishing fires. It also has its own storm drains and runoff ponds so as not to contribute to flooding or storage issues in the community.
The state-of-the-art facility includes multiple communal workspaces and breakout rooms with oversized windows for optimal natural sunlight, as well as the Two Rivers Café which offers a range of food options from ready-to-eat salads and wraps to burgers. . and paninis made to order. The local vendor, Las Ranitas, also serves the cafe’s authentic Mexican fare a few days a week. Digi-Key is recognized by the State of Minnesota as a breastfeeding-friendly workplace and has 16 private mother rooms throughout the PDCe for employees returning to work from parental leave. The building also has a spacious break room for employees to take their breaks, relax and recharge.
Outside the new building is a new community garden where employees can adopt a summer plot and plant seasonal flowers, fruits and vegetables. In the Skybridge connecting the original PDC to the PDCe building, there is a “Digi-Walk” traced from end to end, providing an ideal place for employees to take a few extra steps during their breaks.
Sustainability was also considered during the planning and construction of the facility. The roof has a white membrane to reflect the heat of the sun, sensor-activated LED lights to minimize electricity consumption and a specially designed transport system that maximizes energy consumption as well as efficiency.