Alpine Valley Bread Company is a bakery headquartered in Arizona with 14 distributors who deliver products to approximately 200 separate locations of natural food stores and grocery chains, such as Costco. With the distributors visiting a growing number of sites each day, Alpine's manual process for delivering and ordering product was becoming cumbersome and inefficient.
Each distributor is responsible for managing the delivery and ordering of bread at each customer site. The distributor would take an order to a site, remove the stale bread (according to date codes), calculate the sellable amount left on-site, and determine the quantities of each bread for the next order. The distributor would write down the stale bread dollar amount to be credited (the store receives a credit for stale bread) and order information and provide the store with a hand-written credit memo. The distributor also provided the customer with an invoice generated at headquarters prior to delivery. If there were any discrepancies, changes to the invoice had to be made manually. After leaving the store, the distributor would call in to headquarters to relay the order for the next delivery. The call center would complete a written order form and enter the data into Alpine's QuickBooks system for processing. An apparent inefficiency in Alpine's manual process was the duplication of efforts in ordering. Further, the stale bread data being relayed was only an overall dollar amount to be credited. Knowing what bread is staling at which site would allow Alpine to take measures to lower its stale bread rate, which would increase its profitability. In May 2006, Alpine COO Ann Wise began looking for a solution to automate the distributor process and eliminate these inefficiencies.
Source: Integrated Solutions
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