Supply Scan

News and Trends from Across the Food Supply Chain

WINNING COMBINATION: Allen Lane of CSTK (left) and Joseph Trover of Landshire Sandwiches by a company route truck.
WINNING COMBINATION: Allen Lane of CSTK (left) and Joseph Trover of Landshire Sandwiches by a company route truck.

Nestlé Waters Monitors Lift Truck Fleet Wirelessly

Nestlé Waters North America has initiated a series of follow-on purchase orders to implement I.D. System Inc.'s PowerFleet Vehicle Management System (VMS) on fleets of industrial trucks at six plants in the United States.
Nestlé Waters, based in Greenwich, CT, initially deployed the system at two sites during the second and third quarters of 2009.

"We are very encouraged by our initial deployment of I.D. Systems' wireless vehicle management technology in the initial installations," says Chris Lyon of Nestlé Waters North America's National Fleet Services group.

"We are very excited to begin rolling out this innovative technology across additional facilities to expand the benefits it brings to our supply chain organization," says Lyon.

According to Hackensack, NJ-based I.D. System, a wireless VMS helps improve material handling productivity by establishing accountability for the use of equipment, ensuring equipment is in the proper place at the right time, streamlining material handling work flow, and providing unique metrics on equipment utilization.

A wireless VMS also helps reduce industrial fleet maintenance costs by automatically uploading vehicle data, reporting vehicle problems electronically, scheduling maintenance according to actual vehicle usage rather than by calendar or manual data entry, and helping determine the optimal economic time to replace equipment.

Arby's Beefs Up Service With McLane

Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. has expanded its network with McLane Foodservice to include food distribution services in Texas and surrounding states.

Based in Atlanta, Arby's is the second largest quick-service sandwich chain in the U.S. with more than 3,700 system-wide restaurants. McLane's Arlington distribution center began servicing 190 restaurants in the Texas market on November 2, 2009.

McLane Foodservice, a division of McLane Co. Inc. in Carrolton, TX, will provide Arby's with comprehensive supply chain services, including logistics, procurement and inventory management solutions. McLane currently provides services to 285 units in the Western U.S. through its Phoenix; Tracy, CA; and Riverside, CA distribution centers.

"McLane's expertise and top-notch operational efficiencies have supported our growth as a world-class supply chain organization," says Wendy Kleefeld, vice president, supply chain of Arby's Restaurant Group. "By expanding our partnership for service in the Texas market, we will continue to build upon that success."

McLane serves some of the world's largest chain restaurant systems and adheres to the most rigorous standards. With nationwide reach and a local presence in key population centers, McLane delivers world-class expertise, logistics, technology and promotion services.

Brookshire Optimizes Fleet With XATA

Brookshire Grocery Co. has chosen XATA Corp. as its preferred provider of onboard computer technology.

The Tyler, TX-based supermarket retailer selected the XATANET fleet operations software platform and services for its fleet of more than 75 vehicles. XATA, Minneapolis, is also providing implementation and training services to ensure a smooth adoption of the solution.

The implementation rollout was completed last month.

Serving customers in four states, Brookshire operates more than 150 supermarkets in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

"We really like how XATA is evolving its fleet optimization technology," says Scott Reilly, vice president of logistics, Brookshire. "With XATANET, we have a fleet operations solution that can expand as we need it. Brookshire's is proud of its high level of customer service and customer satisfaction, and XATANET will help us maintain this level of service by alerting us with delivery status in real-time."

Brookshire's is using XATANET to monitor and manage the performance of its fleets, including delivery details and driver behavior, such as speeding, excessive idling and hours of service.

Saddle Creek Acquires ServiceCraft Logistics

Saddle Creek Corp. has acquired ServiceCraft Logistics, a third-party logistics company headquartered in Buena Park, CA. The acquisition reflects Saddle Creek's strategic focus on bringing integrated logistics solutions to new markets and provides customers with expanded coverage and service options.

The deal provides Lakeland, FL-based Saddle Creek with an immediate increase in geographic coverage and industry expertise.

"This is really a great acquisition for us and for the market overall," says David Lyons, Saddle Creek's founder and chairman. "In ServiceCraft we found a company with a culture that is very similar to our own, and a service area that complements our existing network extremely well. That cultural fit is already making for a smooth transition—something that we know is critical to our customers."

With this acquisition, Saddle Creek gains eight warehouse locations in the key markets of Northern and Southern California and Dallas/Fort Worth and increases its total managed square footage by more than 20 percent.

The move also expands Saddle Creek's transportation offering. The company will now offer regional fleet transportation in the California markets in addition to its existing nationwide transportation brokerage service.

Adding hundreds of new associates also enables Saddle Creek to expand its service offering with expertise in additional industries.

Landshire Sandwiches Rolls With Insulated Vans

Landshire Sandwiches and CSTK, a Thermo King Corp. dealer, have developed insulated vans that offer improved fuel performance, as well as quality temperature control and easier maneuverability for drivers.

The Belleville, IL-based sandwich maker services convenience store, grocery and vending customers from throughout the Midwest. Starting out years ago with trucks and (electric stand-by) trailers that travelled many miles each day between its manufacturing facility and customer locations, the company eventually added strategically-placed distribution centers to more efficiently cover Landshire's growing Midwest territory.

In 2008, the company was looking for a way to combat high fuel prices. The answer came in the form of a new distribution model that included 40-foot, self-contained refrigerated pods, similar to ocean-going containers, and fuel-efficient, custom-designed Sprinter vans.

"We currently have eight pods in place throughout designated routes and have seen a significant reduction in miles driven by the vehicles servicing those areas; they simply do not have to travel as far between loads," says Joseph Trover, CEO.

"In addition, the Sprinter vans used in these areas more than doubled the miles per gallon achieved with the older box trucks they replaced, which has provided a considerable net savings to the company."

Landshire partnered with CSTK of St. Louis, its Thermo King dealer, to develop the vehicle. The goal was to end up with a vehicle that offered the improved fuel performance and quality temperature control and easier maneuverability for drivers.

"The first batch of Sprinter vans featured a CSTK-customized installation package that included a four-step insulation process and a Thermo King V-300-20 small truck refrigeration unit," explains Allen Lane, CSTK chief operating officer.

"The second batch of Sprinter vans included 14-foot Morgan Bodies and Thermo King V-500 truck units. The entire van fleet was designed to maintain an average internal temperature of 18 degrees and includes an R:COM cellular tracking system for real-time vehicle and temperature monitoring," says Lane. "The vans are non-cumbersome; they really do drive more like a car and offer better ground-level access."

All of the Sprinter vans are leased through Ryder and most of the pods are located at Ryder facilities.

Built to Landshire's specifications to complement the pod satellite locations, the vans are the perfect vehicle to ensure the success of this innovative distribution model. According to Trover, the system allows for faster, easier expansion due to its flexibility.

"We can service more accounts out of each pod, and because there is less driving, there is more time to service each customer," says Trover.

Landshire Sandwiches operates approximately 80 route trucks, as well as its 19 new Sprinter vans, to cover 85 service routes. The fleet runs a combination of Thermo King TS-200, V-300 and V-500 truck refrigeration units.

U.S. Foodservice Lightens Energy Bills

Swapping to high-efficiency light bulbs at U.S. Foodservice Lubbock is helping the local division cut an average 3,450 kilo-watt hours (kWh) from its daily electricity use—or about enough to power 111 average American homes for a day.

During the past two years, the division has added roofing insulation, installed new refrigeration compressors and upgraded coolers and freezers. Collectively, these changes saved the company between 10,000 and 30,000 kWh per month.

But it was a lighting project completed in July, as part of a company-wide energy initiative, which really made the difference, says John Frankhouser, vice president of operations at U.S. Foodservice Lubbock, based in Lubbock, TX.

In Lubbock, that effort replaced 334 high bay fixtures in both its 142,000-square-foot warehouse and 11,000-square-foot truck shop with high efficiency T7 bulbs. Occupancy sensors, which turn lights off during periods of inactivity, were installed.

These additions, combined with the prior improvements, cut the division's average daily use by 3,450 kWh or 26 percent. The energy savings results in a reduction in CO2 emissions equal to removing about 180 cars from the road each year.

"We're proud of our efforts to conserve energy and to help preserve our local environment," says Larry Luman, president of U.S. Foodservice Lubbock. "We've shown that just one change, even in a small operation like ours, can make a huge difference."

Last month, the more energy efficient operation caught the attention of an account manager at local utility Xcel Energy, who contacted Frankhouser.

"He wanted to find out exactly what we were doing to get those results," Frankhouser says.

Additionally, since the Lubbock division began tracking its recycling efforts in June as part of a corporate-wide operations excellence program, it has kept more than 20 tons of material out of local landfills including:
• 16.4 tons of unprepared steel;
• 3.24 tons of corrugated cardboard; and
• 1.65 tons of white office paper.

U.S. Foodservice Lubbock is also using large, reusable rubber bands to secure select food products for in-house storage instead of hundreds of pounds of shrink wrap each year.