Having the right item in the right quantity at the right times at the right place and at the right price.
Logistics is the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet some requirements, for example, of customers or corporations. The resources managed in logistics can include physical items, such as food, materials, equipment, liquids, and staff, as well as abstract items, such as time, information, particles, and energy. The logistics of physical items usually involves the integration of information flow, material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and often security.
For more than a century, Ben E. Keith foods has been a leader and an innovator among foodservice distributors. Ben E. Keith has ongoing operational improvement programs company-wide and is an industry leader in technological advancements. In fact, it has developed its own proprietary warehouse management system, dubbed KWCS, which stands for Keith Warehouse Control System. All of its facilities run on the system. In addition, the company is a strong supporter of the foodservice industry and maintains an open door policy.
But most importantly, Ben E. Keith places its highest priority on people--the customers and suppliers that it works with, as well as its associates. The distributor strives to maintain the loyalty of its customers by providing top notch service and responding to their needs as quickly as possible. And it provides all of its warehouse associates and drives with opportunities and incentives for advancement.
"The end result of the this blend of practical material handling concepts and computer technology is an excellent overall productivity, which is upwards of 175 picks per hour in the VNA alone," says Allan Kohl, president of Kom. Ben E. Keith has worked with Kom on a number of projects over the years, including facility consolidation and implementation, multiple facility re-sets, a capacity study and the design and construction of two new facilities, among other endeavors.
Most food distributors don't develop their own WMS, Kohl points out, but Ben E. Keith has a strong IT department and has the bench strength to maintain the system. Ben E. Keith designed KWCS as an open system, so it has interfaces with a variety of other solutions, such as routing, slotting, voice picking, yard management and business intelligence.
Beyond the warehouse, the distributor has automated other areas, including its delivery process. The company installed onboard systems on all of its trucks, so drivers can scan labels and capture proof of delivery at the restaurant.
Ben E. Keith increases picking accuracy with solutions from Motorola and SAE. Learn more, watch this video
Exerts from the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Food Logistics magazine.