Loblaw wins top supply chain award


At the 2012 National Retail Federation Annual Conference on Jan. 17, Loblaw received the "Tech Innovation Award for Supply Chain" from Progressive Grocer magazine, in recognition of outstanding technology implementation and production success in 2011.

"While the winners may have implemented different types of technologies, each one shared a common theme–it made the grocer's business operate smarter," said Joseph Tarnowski, technology editor for Progressive Grocer in a press release.

"All of the implementations resulted in real ROI for the respective companies, and are examples of how being on the cutting edge of technology can have a positive impact on the business."

In 2009, Loblaw implemented Manhattan's Warehouse Management, Labor Management and Slotting Optimization solutions from the Manhattan SCOPE(R) supply chain portfolio.

Loblaw wanted to lower the cost of operating more than 25 distribution centres, offer fresher products on store shelves, improve inventory position and move to a centralized network.

"We wanted to get all of our warehouses operating off one system and standardize the processes," said David Markwell, Loblaw vice-president of information technology in the release. "Once we made the decision to go with Manhattan, we were live in our first site by June of 2009, our second site by August and the third went live in October–we were on a timeframe of every six weeks for new sites."

With its new system, the company saw a five per cent improvement in labour efficiency, reduced receiving time by 23 per cent, and a reduction in shorts of 50 per cent.

Moreover, through flow implementation and cross-dock integration, time efficiency and volume throughput improved resulting in a savings of up to $5 million annually.

In 2012 and 2013, Loblaw will upgrade its warehouse management system to Manhattan's Supply Chain Process Platform.

The upgrade will result in a unified supply chain network by adding unique cross-application optimization capabilities.

Phase one started replaced the transportation and warehouse management systems, the order management systems while phase two will make it all work together.

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