Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 101

Logistics of Local
By Katie Martin

routing and scheduling technology.
Deploying Paragon as a strategic planning tool,
Walmart-owned U.K. supermarket chain Asda,
based in Leeds, has been able to review and model
best routes, which has resulted in better use of its fleet
and lower capital expenditures, according to Salter.
"Our software enables precise planning of
delivery routes and vehicle use across all of the
depots that serve Asda's nationwide stores, which
serve more than 18 million customers in store every
week," says Salter. "As a result, food miles and carbon emissions are reduced through improved use of
its fleet of tractor units and trailer units."
Meanwhile, in the United States, Ballston Spa,
N.Y.-based regional convenience store operator
Stewart's Shops has adopted Paragon's routing and
scheduling software to automate the manual process
of planning deliveries to its retail outlets, which
should ultimately lower mileage, reduce fuel usage
and improve truckload efficiencies, observes Salter.
"With growing demand from consumers for
fresh food, the greatest logistics challenge for our
grocery customers is ensuring that fresh food is
available in store as quickly as possible after leaving
the field, with the least amount of handling and at
the lowest possible cost," he notes.
"Moving products quickly and efficiently through
the supply chain not only ensures that customer
demand for fresh food is met, but also increases the
length of on-shelf time before use-by and best-before
dates expire," he adds. "This helps keep the customer
happy, boosts sales and minimizes the amount of
food waste or stock returned to producers."
Aside from technology, some of the commonsense solutions adopted by the industry
include using the same container all the way from
the point of packing at the farm or producer to
the delivery journey and into the supermarket
aisles, observes Salter, who adds, "Standardizing
containers also allows vehicles to be better utilized, because transportation planners can better
understand what will fit in each truck based on
accurate volumetric data."
However, the advantages that technology brings
to the table are unparalleled, he maintains: "Using a system like Paragon's routing and scheduling
software allows transportation planners to manage
wide-ranging criteria. This includes restrictions on
vehicle types and delivery times, time required for
loading and unloading, and preferred delivery times
for different types of food."
Salter continues: "When supermarkets succeed
in streamlining their delivery process, logistics costs
are kept to a minimum, farmers have a lower return
rate, and customers get the freshest food possible.
It's a win-win for everybody." PG

Locally sourced products are an increasingly big
draw for supermarkets, with sales growing from $5
billion to $12 billion between 2005 and 2014 and expected to hit $20 billion by 2019, according to Rockville, Md.-based
Packaged Facts. Creating and managing relationships - especially
the deliveries - with local producers can be cumbersome and
time-consuming. One of the largest departments for local products
is the produce department, and stores and distributors are taking
several different paths to make offering these products easier.
One method is to use aggregators, or farmers' exchanges. The
aggregator serves as a central repository for farmers to sell their
produce to, and for stores to buy the produce from. Several stores
across the country are turning to such businesses to ensure that
they always have the items they need in stock and aren't relying
solely on one farmer's crop to supply their stores. "What we're
trying to do is to introduce as many opportunities and revenue
streams as possible for the farmer and for the store," says Marty
Travis, owner of Fairbury, Ill.-based Spence Farm, a food aggregator that supplies Harvest Market, in Champaign, Ill., as well as more
than 250 restaurants in Chicago. Harvest Market receives a shipment once a week, and all billing is handled by Spence Farm.
Sourcing and billing are two of the largest pain points for the
stores, which is where Forager comes in. The startup, located in
Portland, Maine, has built a platform for both sides of the equation: suppliers and grocers. It allows farmers to post what they
have for sale, and stores to compare prices, see what's available,
place items they want in shopping carts and make purchases.
Forager handles all of the billing and payments, which helps
reduce time on the grocer's end. Portland Food Co-op, which
uses the platform, has seen sales of local products increase 11
percent; overall, the store's local sales have hit 40 percent.
Other stores have turned to hosting farmers' markets to satisfy
their customers' need for local products. Macey's, Lin's, Dan's, Dick's
Market and Fresh Market in Utah host Eat Fresh, Eat Local farmers'
markets in partnership with 26 local growers. The farmers' market,
which runs from July 10 through the beginning of September, is held
on Saturday mornings. Farmview, in Madison, Ga., also hosts a farmers' market on Saturdays. Brad Kelly, business development and farm
operations manager for Farmview, notes that the store was slightly
concerned about possible poaching of sales when it started the
farmers' market, as the store itself is focused mainly on sourcing local
products. "It's been a draw," he says. "If anything, it brings more traffic to the store." Further, the farmers'-market vendors are typically
different from those that supply the store.
No matter how grocers choose to bring local products into
the store, there's no question that local is a draw. "Sixty-four
percent of consumers will make a special trip to the store if
they know their favorite grocer has local produce in season,"
says David Stone, founder of Forager. "That person going to
the store to buy asparagus in asparagus season - they're more
likely to put something in the shopping
basket besides just that one item. It's
incumbent upon the grocer to get as
much high-quality local produce
on the shelves as possible and
promote it to the consumer."

August 2017 | progressivegrocer.com |

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - August 2017

Contents
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Intro
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - CT1
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - CT2
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover1
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover2
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 3
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 4
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Contents
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