Stop & Shop, Quincy, Mass., has fashioned a task management system of alerts that is having a big impact on its store deliveries, said Dennis Haner, the chain's director, transportation support operations, who described the system at the Food Marketing Institute's Supply Chain Conference in Rancho Mirage, Calif., earlier this month.
For example, the chain keeps track of dispatch priorities for store deliveries, indicating to warehouse personnel that “this has to go out at this time” to ensure on-time service, said Haner.
But the chain has focused its efforts particularly on improving the receiving process at stores. To this end, the chain has equipped trucks with Xata on-board computers containing load and store details, and has established a GPS (Global Positioning System) “fence” around its stores. As a truck approaches a store, it “trips the fence,” generating an email alert to a support center that reports the number of pallets on board and the store that's being approached. An operator calls the store, giving it a 20-minute notice that a load is on its way.
“The store can then prepare for the load's arrival, clearing out its docks and getting its back room ready,” said Haner. “If a store is out of a produce item and customers are looking for it, the store can communicate that the truck is 10 minutes away — so come back, and it will be there.”
The process has reduced delays, cut costs, improved asset utilization and reduced shrink, said Haner. Chainwide, it is saving Stop & Shop some $700,000 in driver wages and asset-utilization costs. “And we think there's more to be had,” he noted.