Supply Scan

News and Trends From Across the Food Supply Chain

PFG Rolls Out Voice Across Five Facilities

Performance Food Group (PFG), the third largest foodservice distribution company in the United States, has successfully rolled out voice in five of its broadline distribution centers.

The Richmond, VA-based distributor, using solutions from Voxware Inc., Hamilton, NJ, plans to expand voice with a schedule that assumes a new broadline site will be rolled out every three to five weeks.

Once the implementations are complete in 2009, PFG will have more than 600 workers across 18 broadline distribution centers nationwide on the system. Currently PFG is using voice in its picking applications. The integration of pick slot movement data triggers the warehouse management system (WMS) to generate immediate replenishment for pick slots low on inventory.

Since voice technology has been deployed in several of PFG's distribution centers, the company has seen a 65 percent reduction in mis-picks and a 50 percent decrease in truck shorts.

In addition, training time for new workers now takes approximately 25 percent less time than it did prior to voice.

"We implemented voice to reduce mis-picks and truck shorts. But since we began working with Voxware, we've experienced many additional benefits to using the technology, especially with our workers," says Jeff Williamson, vice president of warehouse operations for PFG.

"Many of our workers who struggled to meet and maintain minimum error rate requirements are now able to reach and exceed required levels. Because our incentive system is tied to both productivity and error rates, voice has allowed more workers to earn incentives and bonuses, keeping them happier and more motivated."

Nestle Waters Reduces Idle Time By 41 Percent

Poland Spring, a division of Nestle Waters, has reduced idle time by 41 percent and is on track to save over $21,000 in fuel in 2008, thanks to advanced fleet management software from Cadec Global Inc., Manchester, NH.

Poland Spring had been using Cadec's Mobius TTS advanced fleet management software and on-board computers in its fleet of 40 trucks for the previous year, primarily for its paperless logging capabilities. In January 2008, it expanded its use of Mobius to include tracking idle time.

The fleet management team filtered the data by driver and posted the results and according to Chris McKenna, northeast inside fleet manager for the Wilkes Barre, PA-based bottler. "Driver behavior started to change almost immediately."

From January through May, Poland Spring achieved a 41 percent reduction in idle time–a total of 2,300 hours, or a run-rate of 5,100 hours annually. That's the equivalent of taking 12 cars off the road in terms of carbon emissions.

In addition, Poland Spring saved more than $9,000 in fuel during the five-month period, and is on track to save more than $21,000 in fuel in 2008.

"Results have exceeded our expectations and we were able to affect change much more quickly than we thought possible," says McKenna.

Tips For ReducingFuel Consumption

With fuel prices skyrocketing, Frisco, TX-based Transplace has developed a list of fuel conservation tips to help both carriers and OTRs endure rising fuel prices. The tips include:
• Plan routes through major cities during off-peak hours;
• Reduce deadhead and empty miles by laying over and waiting on the next closest load, if practical;
• Utilize low RPM shifting techniques for maximum fuel conservation;
• Ensure all equipment is properly maintained and all air/fuel filters are changed according to the manufacturer's specs;
• Become an EPA SmartWay Transport Partner certified carrier and apply all applicable SmartWay specs for over the road equipment;
• Deploy route optimization software to select routes with the fewest impediments;
• Examine driver incentives and training for fuel efficiency and idle reduction procedures.

Coca-Cola To Add Hybrid Trucks To Fleet

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