ISS Material Handling 

World’s Ten Largest Warehouses

Warehouses, distribution centers, and factories are usually big—certainly bigger than the average retail store or car dealership. But there’s big, and then there’s big.

Here’s the inside scoop on 10 of the biggest facilities on the planet.

 

  1. Tesla Gigafactory

Location: Austin, TX

Size: 10,000,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 174

Year Opened: 2022

We hate to quibble, but it might have been more accurate to call this massive facility the Tesla Hebdofactory. After all, the little-used term hebdo- is the prefix for 107 (10 million).

All jokes aside, the Tesla Gigafactory, where Tesla Model Y sedans are built, is definitely way bigger than mega-big. In fact, it’s big enough to churn out 10,000 vehicles per week, which is Tesla’s goal.

And it’s way, way, way bigger than the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, where the first 12,000 Model Ts were assembled. That 1904 facility had 67,000 square feet of space spread over three floors, making it roughly 1,5000 times smaller than the Gigafactory.

 

  1. Tesla Fremont Factory

Location: Fremont, California

Size: 5,300,000

Number of Football Fields: 92

Year Opened: 1962

Tesla’s first factory is nowhere near as big as the Tesla Gigafactory, but it’s still plenty big, big enough to churn out some 600,000 EVs each year.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the factory is that it opened nearly a decade before Tesla CEO Elon Musk was born. It produced GM cars from 1962-1982, then produced cars through a GM-Toyota joint venture from 1984-2010, when Tesla moved in. Telsa bought the factory for $42 million and received a $50 million investment from Toyota. That left $8 million for the extensive renovations the venerable facility needed.

 

  1. Boeing Everett Production Facility

Location: Everett, Washington

Size: 4,300,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 75

Year Opened: 1967

The birthplace of Boeing 747s, 767s, 777s, and 787s is the world’s largest production facility by volume, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. It’s so big, in fact, that a single wall has room for six doors, each the size of a football field. Of course, the facility has to be huge, given that a single 747 measures 225 feet long and has a tail as tall as a six-story building.

Inside the facility, there’s room for more than 30,000 workers across three shifts, many of whom move around through some 2 miles of tunnels or on 1,300 bicycles Boeing provides. The facility has its own fire department, security team, and fitness center—but no central air and heat. Fortunately, summers tend to be mild in the Pacific Northwest, and all the activity inside keeps the place warm during the winter.

 

  1. Amazon MQY1 Fulfillment Center

Location: Mt. Joliet, Tennessee

Size: 3,600,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 63

Year Opened: 2021

One of Amazon’s newest facilities, the MQY1 Fulfillment Center is both big and tall—92 feet tall, in fact. Each of the five floors is nearly as big as 13 football fields. However, there’s no room for tossing the pigskin inside, since the center is fitted out with 12 miles of conveyors, hundreds of robots, and 40,000 totes for moving products around. The center opened with about 1,000 employees but could grow to 3,000 based on demand.

Despite all the big numbers, the center mostly handles products that are typically no bigger than 18" x 18". Bigger items head to a facility in nearby Lebanon, Tenn., which is “only” about 1 million square feet.

 

  1. Volkswagen AG Wolfsburg Plant

Location: Wolfsburg, Germany

Size: 3,200,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 56

Year Opened: 1938

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plan is the world’s largest single auto plant. It’s so large, in fact, that the entire Principality of Monaco could fit inside.

The plant, which doubles as the company’s headquarters, employs 15,000 workers to build Golfs, Tiguans, and other gas and electric cars. Every day, about 180 double-decker rail cars and about 185 car-carrier trailers leave the facility with new VWs bound for more than 50 countries around the world.

The plant’s biggest-selling product isn’t a car, however; it’s currywurst. Really. Each day, a small onsite butchery churns out 18,000 sausages, which are served in onsite employee restaurants and sold in German grocery stores and football stadiums. And in case you’re interested, vegan currywurst is now available.

 

  1. Michelin U70 Woodruff Distribution Center

Location: Woodruff, North Carolina

Size: 3,000,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 52

Year Opened: 2019

Three million square feet is a nice round number, which is appropriate for a facility that distributes car and truck tires. And this facility distributes a lot of tires—over 4 million a year, in fact.

The facility features an automated system that includes 16 robots and 29 cranes, and it can process more than 8,000 tires every hour, 24/7.

What it doesn’t process is paper. The site uses barcodes, scanners, RFID chips, and computers to replace all the paper that would otherwise be required. And that’s not U70 Woodruff’s only nod to sustainability. Just 4% of construction waste went to landfills, and 20% of the 461-acre site is protected wetlands and upland buffer areas.

 

  1. Nike North American Logistics Campus

Location: Frayser, Tennessee

Size: 2,800,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 49

Year Opened: 2015

Nike’s largest distribution center lies thousands of miles from its Oregon headquarters near the logistics hub that is Memphis, Tenn. The massive facility, which handles footwear, apparel, and sports gear, features 33 miles of conveyors that operate 24/7. Products enter through 96 receiving spurs and leave through 73 outbound doors. All told, the facility is built to handle 271 million units a year.

Tucked away in the facility is a nod to Nike’s roots: a 1960s-era Volkswagen bus full of shoe boxes. It’s a reminder of how founder Phil Knight got his start selling shoes out of his 1964 Plymouth Valiant.

If you think Nike needs more than a mere 2.8 million square feet of space, you’re right. That’s one reason the company has another 1 million square foot warehouse between Memphis International Airport and a BNSF intermodal railyard.

 

  1. John Deere North American Parts Distribution Center

Location: Milan, Illinois

Size: 2,650,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 45

Year Opened: 1973

Just a few miles from John Deere’s main assembly plan sits one of the largest distribution centers in the country. The half-mile-wide facility operates 24/7 to get John Deere dealers and customers the parts they need fast. And that’s important if you’re halfway through planting and your ExactRate Liquid Fertilizer System breaks down. Hey, it’s been known to happen.

All told, the facility stocks more than 600,000 different SKUs, ranging in weight from 1 ounce to 25 tons. The company promises to get those parts to dealers within 24 hours—and usually before 8 a.m. the next day.

Our only beef: the building isn’t painted John Deere green.

 

  1. Inex Sipoo Distribution Center

Location: Sipoo, Finland

Size: 2,400,000 Square Feet

Football Fields: 42

Year Opened: 2018

If you feel a little hungry on your next visit to Finland, consider stopping by retail cooperative S Group’s distribution center in Sipoo. An estimated 35% of all the country’s grocery products pass through this sprawling facility. In all, it handles 21,000 SKUs from 1,400 suppliers.

To keep products moving, the center is highly automated. For example, 80% of dry cargo items go from unloading to loading automatically; the only manual process is removing the protective film from pallets.

 

  1. Target Import Warehouse

Location: Savannah, GA

Size: 2,000,000 Square Feet

Number of Football Fields: 35

Year Opened: 2006

If you make a Target run to the Target Import Warehouse, you might want to pack your running shoes—and your lunch. This behemoth, which processes merchandise from overseas, sprawls over 200 acres at the Port of Savannah.

And it’s just one of Target’s four important distribution centers. Along with centers in California, Virginia, and Washington state, the facility regulates deliveries to Target’s 26 regional distribution centers and eliminates deliveries of less-than-full truckloads, cutting costs and reducing carbon emissions.

 

All these facilities stand out because of their size, but what really makes them truly shine is what’s inside. If you need help with racks, conveyors, lifts, and other technologies, call ISS Material Handling today. We can help your facility shine too.

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