Transportation & Logistics International - Winter 2017 - 84
WAREHOUSING & PACKAGING
inbound to its 200 worldwide distribution centers. From
there, fresh and frozen products are consolidated into
shipments and delivered to restaurants an average of 2.5
times per week.
Restaurants risk having a shortage of a food item if the
truck is late or a product is under-ordered, so each delivery must contain everything it needs. At the same time,
McDonald's wants to avoid excess stocking and wasted
products. To balance those requirements, the company
and its 3PL providers implemented traceability and
visibility into its supply chain. McDonald's can track the
location of every shipment, view what products restaurants have in stock and measure demand for food items.
The integrated system then produces proposed order
amounts for each restaurant, which the operator can
review and adjust. "That order proposal is meant to ease
the burden on the restaurant manager so the restaurant
manager can focus on the customer," Stewart says.
The usefulness of that visibility extends throughout
the entire supply chain. Just as a restaurant manager
can make more efficient ordering decisions, a supplier
can look at demand and adjust its production schedule
accordingly. The end-result is a transparent supply
chain made more efficient by linking shipping and production to real customer purchases.
Those kinds of insights into the supply chain are an example of how McDonald's is incorporating cutting-edge
technologies to improve its operations behind the
scenes, but the company is also finding ways to upgrade
the guest experience. "Our customers have changed,"
Stewart says. "What they want today is different than
what they wanted 20 years ago."
An example of that change is in how guests define
convenience. In the past, McDonald's thought of convenience as being in the right location for the customer.
But today, the word encompasses everything from the
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