Ten Companies To Watch

Food Logistics' annual salute to food and beverage companies that are using innovative solutions to address logistical challenges.


NRF spend is an area of huge savings potential for retail and wholesale companies. It’s spending on all products and services not resold to customers. According to TopSource, NFR spend represents one of the three largest categories of spend, along with cost of goods and wages. TopSource says it has saved customers an average of 18 percent in this area.

In order to achieve these results, TopSource is using a combination of Ariba Sourcing On-Demand, Ariba Contract Management and Ariba Supplier Performance Management. Ariba Sourcing was developed to enhance the ability to negotiate for goods and services and drive bottom-line savings.

Leveraging Ariba Contract Management, TopSource can manage and drive compliance with agreements. And through Ariba Supplier Performance Management, TopSource can discover, assess and on-board new supplier partners, with the ability to continuously measure and improve supplier performance.

“We chose Ariba because it offers a complete strategic sourcing solution,” says Wright. “So RFP, auction, contract and supplier management—we found the functionality of the tool to be superior to other solutions in the marketplace. Also, the of use for suppliers that participate in the events with us.”

TopSource’s eAuction offering can optimize capacity, quality service and cost for retailers that manage a diverse cross section of transportation, including dry and refrigerated transportation. By utilizing auctions, a TopSource customer has received up to 16 percent savings from high quality, fully qualified suppliers, while at the same time benefiting from a significant reduction in negotiation cycle time.

5. The Gillette Group minds its SKUs with business intelligence - LACROSSE, WI - Tenth largest Pepsi-Cola distributor in the country.

The Gillette Group, LaCrosse, WI, had to deal with some uncomfortable pain points when it came time to read and interpret weekly and monthly reports. That was before the company began using Salient Corp.’s Margin Minder Series business intelligence solution. Gillette Group is the tenth largest Pepsi-Cola distributor in the country, servicing a population of about 1 million people in the Midwest.

The company desired more visibility that would allow it to see where it was making a profit and where it was investing. But the paper reports it generated were not well received by Gillette employees. Typically, just the accounting department used the reports because they were familiar with the technology of reporting systems.

“But most employees never referred to the reports because they were not intuitive and they were too lengthy to read,” notes Patti Gillette-Ostrom, IT director. “It was painful for everyone involved, and especially painful for IT, as we had to create and distribute lengthy printouts and we often had to do follow-up reports which meant rewriting information.”

Over the last 10 years, the company’s business model changed from offering 128 SKUs to offering 500 SKUs to keep pace with competitors like Starbucks, Dole and Lipton Teas who were offering a variety of drinks including waters and flavored waters.

“Margin Minder helped us manage all of these SKUs,” reports Gillette-Ostrom. “Without Margin Minder, we would have needed a larger IT staff to write specialty reporting and we certainly wouldn’t have been able to get information instantaneously like we can now.”

A year ago, Gillette also deployed the Enterprise Version of Margin Minder so that it could achieve consistency and visibility in all four of its divisions. “We can access any level of depth of information now,” says Gillette-Ostrom. The company has at its fingertips detailed information regarding product delivery. Now it knows who the delivery is for, who the driver is, what the actual delivery route is and the day the order is delivered. Gillette also knows whether the order was assigned to be delivered on the day it was delivered—or if the order did not arrive when it should have.

The system provides information relative to which customers have had returns due to dated product, improper rotation or overstocking. With this amount of actionable information, Gillette easily can make any necessary adjustments and improvements in its routes.

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