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Bar coding at a food distributorBar Codes Are Right "On-Tap" to Speed Daily Shipments to Hardee's

For some companies, a record of 98 percent accuracy in performance would be a dream come true. But for others, 98 percent is just not good enough. Fast Food Merchandisers, with headquarters in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is clearly an example of the latter.

Fast Food Merchandisers (FFM) is the primary food and supply distributor for Hardee's Food Systems, the third largest chain of fast food restaurants in the United States. From eleven distribution centers around the country, FFM makes daily shipments to 3100 Hardee's restaurants located in forty states.

Their recent campaign to improve on delivery performance that was already 98 percent accurate (98 percent of the products ordered were delivered on time) led FFM to purchase bar code laser scanners and portable data collection computers for trial use in their distribution centers. Unfortunately, the corporate VAX computer used to produce shipping and inventory labels for the distribution centers wasn't capable of generating scannable bar codes for inclusion on those labels.

As it turns out, the solution to this problem was surprisingly simple. Using ISD's On-Tap/VMS bar code software utility with their existing printers, distribution personnel at FFM's corporate headquarters can now insert the required bar codes, in a wide range of sizes, right where they're needed on the labels.

This provides the flexibility to easily produce new bar coded labels when a product description or item number changes, or a new product is introduced.

On-Tap operates transparently within FFM's existing VMS applications. No programming is required. What's more, with On-Tap they were able to create the needed bar codes using their existing printers.

So how successful was this performance improvement campaign? With their new scanners, portable computers, and bar coded labels, FFM has improved their delivery accuracy rate from 98 percent, to a near-perfect 99.8 percent. What's more, these new data collection tools help speed verification of route orders picked from inventory by a factor of 50 percent. And the time it takes to perform monthly inventories in the distribution center has been reduced by 67 percent.

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