MINNEAPOLIS -- Nash Finch Co. plans to convert all 20 of its distribution centers to the same computer hardware and software systems over the next three years to facilitate regional and centralized buying and companywide promotions.
The distributor also plans to use several Efficient Consumer Response initiatives to reduce actual overall expenses this year by 5%, said Al Flaten, Nash Finch's president, at the company's annual shareholders meeting here.
The 5% expense reduction will exclude data processing -- an area in which the company is making "a significant investment this year," Flaten said, by converting its distribution centers to the same computer systems.
"Our goal is to have the same hardware and software in place throughout the company by 1996," Flaten said.
Among other advantages, he noted, similar systems will make it easier for Nash Finch to implement regional and central buying programs.
Nash Finch began a regional buying program in 1992 in Fargo, N.D., for its Minot, N.D., distribution center, and in Denver for its Liberal, Kans., facility. "We plan to continue to centralize our buying further," Flaten said.
In his remarks to shareholders Flaten also outlined several ECR initiatives the company expects to implement this year, including:
Using electronic data interchange to match invoices electronically. The wholesaler has already lowered lead times by using EDI to receive price and product updates electronically, he said.
Expanding a retail productivity program to three more warehouses, after installing the system at three facilities last year.
Developing a cross-docking program to allow merchandise to be received and shipped immediately, without being stored.
Developing an activity-based costing system that will allow the company to know the costs of each item in its distribution centers.
Reducing transportation costs through consolidation of loads and reducing the number of deliveries to selected accounts.