PHOENIX -- Fleming Cos.' division here is seeking to extend to southern California a distribution program for small retailers that has proved successful in Arizona.
Called the batch-bill program, the system allows smaller operators to place orders electronically with Fleming's local warehouse, which then combines or "batches" the orders for selection.
Those orders are subsequently picked up, separated and delivered to accounts by local Fleming-supplied retailers that have distribution and transportation facilities and want to be part of the program. These retailer distributors are paid a fee from the retail accounts they service. The program was designed for neighborhood grocery stores and convenience stores that do not meet Fleming's minimum purchase requirements or whose small orders create inefficiencies in Fleming's distribution system, according to Dick Fisher, sales manager for the local division of Oklahoma City-based Fleming Cos.
Since installing the program a year ago, Fleming's distribution center here has achieved greater efficiencies and transportation savings "by eliminating the manhours it takes to process small orders and the time it takes to deliver them," Fisher said.
The program originated in October 1993 with Express Foods, a Flagstaff-based retailer, distributing products to 37 small accounts in northern Arizona. It was expanded into southern Arizona in April when SQS Trading Co., a Phoenix-based retailer, began serving 60 accounts.