Foodservice distributors increase scanning

Feb. 1, 2002
Three-quarters of foodservice distributors with more than $100 million in annual sales currently use bar-code scanning technology, and 80% of those currently

Three-quarters of foodservice distributors with more than $100 million in annual sales currently use bar-code scanning technology, and 80% of those currently not scanning plan to be scanning-enabled within the next 18 months.

That's a key conclusion of a new survey of foodservice distribution companies by Efficient Foodservice Response (EFR), which also documented that while only 5% of companies under $100 million now use scanning, 72% plan to do so within 18 months. Additional conclusions of the survey include:

  • 100% of larger distributors ($100 million-plus) and 82% of smaller distributors ($0-100 million) either have requested, or plan to request, case-level bar codes from their branded suppliers. An equal number plans to make the same requests of their private label suppliers.

  • Of distributors now scanning, 81% are using it for inbound purposes and inventory management applications and 38% are using scanning for order picking and outbound applications.

  • Of the primary benefits gained from scanning, 81% of distributors identified better warehouse management, 69% indicated labor improvements, 56% have seen benefit in product tracking, and 50% have realized more accurate order picking.

  • When manufacturer bar codes are not provided, 31% of distributors are applying their own proprietary code for warehouse efficiency purposes.

  • Approximately three-quarters of all respondents believe at least 95% of all cases must be labeled with a bar code to realize full scanning potential.

  • Distributors of all sizes listed a lack of manufacturer compliance as the number one impediment to the expansion of distributor bar-code programs.

To maintain focus on the issue of bar-code adoption and implementation, the EFR Executive Committee has established a Bar Code Implementation Work Group to further increase the voluntary adoption of standard product identification and bar coding in the foodservice industry. Ken Fowle, director of supply chain management for Darden Restaurants Inc, is the committee chairman.

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