2009 Innovator: Smart & Final #5

Smart & Final Streamlines Supply Chain Operations


• Green IT: The introduction of wireless processes into the Smart & Final warehouses has enabled a move toward paperless warehouses. Smart & Final has been able to reduce waste and create green warehouses. Using wireless technology, warehouse order takers receive picking directions via a wireless, hands-free headset that eliminates paper order forms. After implementing several green projects, Smart & Final has seen a significant decrease in expenses as a result of not having to buy forms and labels for its warehouse operations.

Smart & Final’s green IT initiative has also extended to include its logistics operations.

“As gas and all the costs in the transportation industry continue to rise, we [went wireless] for a business reason, but it’s also a very green thing to do because we’re using a whole lot less petroleum,” says CIO Marie Robinson.

“We’re pulling trucks off the road, and we’re not contributing to smog and congestion. Smart & Final is not only able to make sound environmental choices, but also very smart business decisions.”

• Systemic cross-docking: Smart & Final can now bring pre-palletized freight in pre-allocated for a store. Instead of driving pallets around the warehouse, putting them in slots, then pulling them down again, Smart & Final is able to send each pallet directly out to the appropriate stores.

For example, this past Halloween season, Smart & Final was able to cross dock all of its Halloween candy pallet shipments, which was about 59 truck loads of candy.

“For a medium-sized company like us, that was a lot of candy,” concluded Robinson. “We were able to ship it in six days and tie up none of our warehouse space. We’re really beginning to do those things because we know we are going to grow.”

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