NORTHLAKE, Ill. -- Dominick's Finer Foods' move to share timely point-of-sale data with a direct-store-delivery supplier is already paying dividends.
The chain here is giving Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Oakland, Calif., access to prior-day POS data as part of an arrangement that is helping boost distribution efficiency and reducing in-store out-of-stocks.
Under the agreement, Catalina Information Resources, Anaheim, Calif., gathers movement data on Dreyer's products from all Dominick's stores until 11 p.m. seven days a week and delivers that data to Dreyer's by 5 a.m. the next day.
According to Dominick's, that gives Dreyer's enough time to plan exactly what products it should load for delivery runs.
"Dreyer's can determine the delivery amount and mix of flavors and sizes based on that data," Dominick's spokesman Rich Simpson said. "They have the right product available at the right stores at the right time. We'd like to see other manufacturers involved."
Dreyer's would not comment on the efficiencies the timely POS data brought to the DSD program. But Diana Harrelson, director of marketing at CIR, commented on the system.
"Before Dreyer's started using our data, their drivers would go into the warehouse and write projected orders. The warehouse would then pick the order and put it on the truck. But when the driver got to the supermarket, he'd have to park and go count what's actually in the freezer cases before unloading."
Now the process has changed considerably. Access to scanner data just hours old is letting Dreyer's warehouse personnel load racks into trucks that drivers can roll right off ready for specific Dominick's stores, Harrelson said. The average store call has been reduced by 20 minutes, a fact that Dominick's applauds.
"The goals are to have delivery trucks spend less time at our stores and to reduce out-of-stocks," Simpson said.
Harrelson said Dreyer's took the lead in initiating the relationship with Dominick's. She said the program benefits Dominick's by paring out-of-stocks and, consequently, moving more Dreyer's ice cream.
Simpson said he could not determine if the new approach to DSD has increased sales of Dreyer's products at Dominick's.
CIR can only offer manufacturers information from stores that have Catalina Marketing's electronic couponing system in place. Currently, 6,500 supermarkets are on that system, but not all have agreed to release information for purposes other than electronic couponing.
The Catalina coupon processors installed at checkouts can be programmed to retail information on any stockkeeping unit passed over the supermarket's scanner.
Harrelson said vendors who don't deliver products direct to supermarkets are also using the data to monitor out-of-stocks. "Manufacturers who don't deliver DSD, like Stouffer's and Tropicana, are using the data to monitor distribution voids," she said.
Harrelson described distribution voids as chronic situations where a manufacturer's product is not well represented in a chain or market. These vendors, she said, also use the information to monitor promotions and alter distribution if supermarkets repeatedly run out of products during promotional periods.