Food supplier automates inventory tracking

New real-time manufacturing inventory and pallet tracking solution helps improve efficiency and customer service.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
August 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Rich’s Products, a global food supplier and solutions provider to foodservice and retail marketplaces, has 33 manufacturing locations on six continents. When the supplier of Rich’s logistical and material requirements planning (MRP) technology in its North American plants went out of business, the company was forced to seek out alternatives.

Working with a new supplier (PEAK Technologies,, Rich’s developed an RF solution that integrated with SAP and real-time inventory and pallet tracking in all of its facilities. The company needed a quick solution for automated inventory tracking to ensure the oldest pallet of raw materials was always used first. The solution: a unique identifier for each pallet of inventory.

“We were able to roll the system out without much effort, and we haven’t had any downtime or any big issues,” said Mark Draksic, Rich’s manager of ERP systems and applications support. “We have improved inventory and cycle counting processes, put-away processing, inventory management, PO receipts handling. The list goes on.”

Rich implemented wireless hardware that provided fully integrated, real-time updates to the plant. New pallet labels contained the real-time data and could be scanned more easily. Finally, the company purchased bar code label printers that linked to the system.

Before the go-live, the warehouse staff reorganized 3,000 pallets of raw materials in a span of 16 hours, over two days. Then, they labeled all the pallets and used the mobile RF devices to scan the information into the system. The entire take-on process was completed ahead of schedule, during the warehouse’s busiest season, without missing a customer order.

After implementation, the receiving process has been a lot faster. Once the materials arrive, a label is immediately created for the inventory pallet. Rich’s associates can now track raw material by vendor, product and lot code.

“There are so many improvements to technology and user interface that morale and productivity are both way up,” says Draksic. “Moving away from a paper-based system has been well worth it.”

About the Author

Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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