Contacts: Lori Willis
Schnuck Markets, Inc.
Director of Communications
Director of Sales/Marketing
Feb. 24, 2005
New Global Positioning Technology is on the Move at Schnucks
ST. LOUIS - St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, Inc. recently became one of the first grocery companies to launch a new technology, mobile phone-based Mobile Fleet Management Positioning System (Global Positioning Satellite or GPS-type) software. The interactive program is installed in approximately 100 trucks which local and over-the-road drivers use to service stores in six states.
The communications system operates on the Sprint business mobility framework, which allows companies to easily mobilize applications and enhance them with various capabilities such as tracking and sending automated messages to mobile workers. This then works in conjunction with cutting-edge software by Agilis Systems Inc., in partnership with Local Area Delivery System Inc. (LADS).
According to Perry Dwars, director of sales and marketing for Agilis Systems, LADS' 30 years of experience in pioneering tracking software helped to expedite the creation of the advanced web-based technologies used by the Agilis System. "Within two-months, the Agilis system was integrated into the Schnucks transportation system," said Dwars. "It has since been expanded to facilitate the management of routing and distribution as well as warehousing."
Bob Drury, Schnucks senior vice president of logistics, manufacturing, and information technology, says the new tracking system is more interactive and more cost effective than previous satellite-based programs. "Agilis married the LADS tracking system with Sprint wireless phones and technology that interprets the signal, coordinates it and maps it on a web-based map." He added, "The Sprint nationwide PCS network gave us capabilities above and beyond what we had previously sought. Now, we are able to involve the entire fleet and include our long haul drivers in the program."
"The new technology will assist store and driver teams in turning deliveries around more quickly resulting in a significant return on investment for Schnucks," said Drury. "Since fuel costs and other expenses are always on the rise, we look for any efficiencies that can help us improve our service to stores and keep costs down for our customers."
Bob Kramer, manager of management information systems and traffic at Schnucks, said, "As of Jan. 3, our distribution system became completely paper-free. Agilis software eliminates paper dispatch and imports a routing solution into the Agilis Systems, Inc. program for computer dispatch."
Once orders are assigned, the system downloads routes to driver's wireless phones that are mounted in the trucks. According to Steve Carroll, Schnucks director of transportation, new mobile technology allows dispatchers to pinpoint a driver's location, which can be helpful in a number of ways. He explained, "For instance, if a store runs low on advertised product, we can now get on the map and see which truck is closest and reroute that driver for a transfer of product."
"Just last month, snow and ice in Evansville, Ind. made traveling difficult along some of our routes," Carroll said. "Using the system, we were able to locate and assist drivers stranded roadside and alert the stores to expect a delay. The more information you can give a store on the estimated delivery time of goods, the better able that store is to maintain high levels of customer service."
Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 102 stores (including five Logli stores) and 96 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi. The family-owned company ranks 94th in the Forbes magazine listing of the nation's "Largest Private Companies."
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