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LOS ANGELES -- Non-membership warehouse retailer Smart & Final is already seeing improved efficiency and visibility in its supply chain via a new system installed just this past March, according to Tony Kleiner, dir. of buying and supply chain projects, who discussed the system during a Web conference held yesterday.
"Smart & Final has been growing rapidly, and to support that growth we needed to overhaul our supply chain network," said Kleiner. "Systems, warehouses locations, and existing processes had to be reviewed to make sure they are capable of supporting our go forward initiatives."
The Web conference was hosted by supply chain solution provider Aldata, based in Atlanta, which worked with Smart & Final on the upgrade. The retailer's legacy technology had consisted of homegrown and modified systems that were not capable of supporting its growth plans.
"It was difficult to understand which system interfaced with which system, so if we needed to modify or add to it, it was a very complex undertaking," said Kleiner. "We lacked visibility to the touch points throughout the supply chain. You had to go into different systems to see various activities, and we needed to query multiple databases to get a view of how product flowed from vendor to customer."
This "spaghetti infrastructure," as Kleiner referred to it, led to many inefficiencies throughout the supply chain, and clouded visibility of the products flowing through it. This also led to inaccurate data throughout the enterprise, which only excacerbated the problem.
Since the retailer's stores offer little backroom storage, it was critical for Smart & Final to operate an efficient supply chain network in order to keep the stores well stocked.
The new system consists of the Central, Stock, and Topase modules from Aldata's GOLD suite of products. It allows Smart & Final to find, implement and enforce common proccesses throughout the organization, organizing its former supply chain mess into a single version of the truth regardless of whether a buyer or warehouse manager was looking at it.
"It eliminates the errors and inconsistencies of the old systems," said Kleiner. "It helped us find common needs throughout the supply chain, leading to better receiving processes, reduced labor, and more efficiencies. We now have consistent ordering strategies for all who order from DC."
It also helps the retailer in its cross-docking, perpetual inventory, and computer-assisted ordering. "Now we have great visibility of the true cost of an item," said Kleiner.
-- Joseph Tarnowski