Supply Scan

News and trends from across the food supply chain.

New Wal-Mart CIO Committed To RFID

The pioneering work at Wal-Mart to mine the supply chain benefits of radio frequency identification (RFID) will continue unabated under Rollin Ford, Wal-Mart's new executive vice president and chief information officer.

Ford, who previously served as the company's executive vice president of logistics and supply chain, strongly endorsed RFID technology at the biannual CIO summit, hosted by Wal-Mart in Bentonville, AR, April 12.

Ford said that both logistics and information systems were at the center of Wal-Mart's competitive advantage and that he intended to build on the success of his predecessor, Linda Dillman, who was named executive vice president of risk management and benefits administration at Wal-Mart.

He added that he was committed to Dillman's vision and to the pioneering work in RFID that she led at Wal-Mart.

Ford also reaffirmed the company's commitment to the EPC standard and said he was impressed with the change in performance the company had seen through the use of the EPC Gen 2 standard.

SYSCO Picks Site For Third RDC

SYSCO Corp. will purchase a 320-acre site in Hamlet, IN, to construct its third redistribution center (RDC).

The state of Indiana, through its economic development corporation, Starke County and the town of Hamlet worked together to provide an incentive package that helped attract SYSCO's Midwest Redistribution Center.

The approximately 700,000-square-foot operation will include freezer, refrigeration, dry storage and office space and a truck maintenance facility. It is expected to be completed within 18 months after construction begins.

Once the RDC is operational, it will begin supplying products to 14 SYSCO broadline facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The redistribution center is the third site location of as many as nine planned facilities throughout the United States as part of SYSCO's Supply Chain Initiative project. The goal of the project is to maximize efficiencies and create supply chain capabilities that increase value to suppliers, customers and SYSCO by using more efficient planning and forecasting methods and leveraging technology systems to reduce operating and delivery expenses.

The first redistribution center, which began shipping products in February 2005, is located in Front Royal, VA, and services 14 SYSCO operating companies in the Northeast. The second one is under construction in Alachua, FL, and will supply SYSCO operating companies in the Southeast when completed.

Organics Take Off In Foodservice

Chefs across the nation have embraced organics as a defining food trend, according to Organic on the Menu: Healthy Eating Trends in Foodservice, a new report from Packaged Facts, New York.

While organic menu items account for only 2 percent of total foodservice sales, the foodservice market for organics appears to be growing at a rate of 20 percent annually—keeping pace with organics at retail, which have grown at rates between 17 percent and 20 percent since 1997.

Organics have taken off in college foodservice operations, with 18- to 24-year-olds being strong advocates of vegetarian and vegan fare. Concurrently, at white tablecloth restaurants, where patrons don't flinch at the additional cost and seasonal menu fluctuations, organics have caught on with chefs paying particular attention to introducing locally produced organics.

Supply and seasonality challenges abound, however, as the popularity of organics has outpaced conventional farmers' ability to transform conventional farms into organic—a process which can take up to five years.

C&S Warehouse Workers Sue For $750 Million

One current and three former warehouse employees at a C&S Wholesale Grocers warehouse in Newburgh, NY, charged the company with routinely cheating warehouse workers out of millions of dollars a week in wages, and filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York April 6.

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