Coffee Talk

Voice technology is brewing at Dunkin Donuts' Mid-Atlantic Distribution Center.


Two of the other Dunkin' Donuts distribution centers-the Midwest and Southeast-are also implementing the IDS system. The three will share an IBM eServer iSeries system, located at the MADC facility, with a backup system in Chicago.

"We will all be totally integrated with IDS. Even though we are independent operations, one of our goals is to be able to help each other out in case of an emergency," says Setter. "We're putting together contingency plans so that if a hurricane shuts the Southeast facility down, for example, we would be able to start picking product for them. We're all using the same item numbers and the same processes, so we can take orders from their members and vice versa."

Another benefit from having all three distribution centers linked is that if one is experiencing unexpected growth in a particular market and can't meet demand, one of the other DCs can help out until it gets up to speed.

The IDS system is expected to go live mid-summer. One IDS application the MADC will emply is IDS PowerNet, an Internet-based customer self-service tool. IDS PowerNet will allow the company's members to place orders and track inventory online in real time-and free up its customer's service representatives. "The bulk of our orders are placed by phone, but with IDS, we're going to move the stores into 100 percent online order entry," says Engard. "Instead of just taking orders, they'll actually be able to help our members run their businesses better."

The three Dunkin' Donuts DCs are implementing IDS Power Enterprise, IDS Power Warehouse and the IDS Customer Relationship Management applications. The full software portfolio will allow each of the DCs to manage their full supply chain, enabling them to track orders from suppliers, through the warehouse and out to their members' stores.

"We buy our coffee overseas, on the commodities market, for example, and we will be able to know when the vendor gets it, when it's prepared, when it's shipped and when it's set to arrive here," says Setter. "Then we'll be able to follow it through our WMS and TMS-right up to the point of sale in the shop. This will all be in real time, so any department in any given time will know exactly what's going on."

Distribution: On-Time Deliveries, Expanding Reach

In addition to the new facility and technology, the MADC is improving in other areas-especially in the transportation arena. The company is Ryder System Inc.'s largest leasing customer in the United Statesoperating out of a single facility. Ryder runs an onsite maintenance facility, with a crew of 14 workers.

"Our fleet has grown from 60 trucks to well over 300 pieces of equipment," says Setter. "Highway restrictions in New Jersey and New York have forced us to go from conventional tractor trailers to straight trucks in those areas, and because of the growth in the frozen side of the business, we've gone from refrigerated trailers to multi-temp. About half our trailers are multi-temp and we're working towards 100 percent."

While the larger Dunkin' Donuts stores receive direct shipments from the MADC, the smaller shops are served by commissaries, to which the MADC also delivers . For shops that are outside the MADC's eight-hour driving radius, the company takes advantage of domicile facilities that are operated by Ryder.

"We can load our truck here and haul the product to a Ryder drop yard, drop the trailer and have a driver make the deliveries to the local stores in that market," says Setter. An added benefit of using local drivers, he adds, is that they get to know the members-and inclement weather doesn't delay service.

"Take this recent snowstorm," he says. "We had enough time to get our trucks loaded and into the markets that were going to be hit. We load the trucks in the afternoon and they're out by 5 p.m. They start delivering at eight the next morning, so it gives them more than 12 hours to make a four-orfive-hour run. The snow doesn't stop them."

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