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Bozzuto's delivers the high-tech advantage.

Whether a light bulb has been changed, a battery cell repaired, or a selector's productivity has fallen to 50%, the company knows. This all-knowing presence is not Big Brother in Orwell's novel. Rather, it's a true 1984-style wholesaler making use of some sophisticated computer controls.

Bozzuto's, a Connecticut-based voluntary wholesaler, is doing what it can today to make sure its customers see tomorrow. By utilizing computer technology and advanced equipment, Bozzuto's improves productivity and efficiency and lower fees for the more than 200 independents it supplies.

"I'm dedicated to the computer," says Marty Carangelo, the director of warehouse and transportation, who thanks to the computer has all of this information at his fingertips.

Carangelo has been with Bozuto's for 25 years and sees the difference the dawn of the computer age has made. "Without a computer, it would be impossible to gather all of the information that I now receive," says Carangelo. "The firs program we designed produced a receiving and selecting report that I used to do by hand. When I had a period closing, it took me weeks to get my paperwork in order. Now it's done in a day."

Bozzuto's first used computers about 12 years ago. For almost two years, Carangelo worked with a programmer designing the systems that are in operation. "They are programs we now simply can't do without," says Carangelo.

Today there are seven computer terminals in the warehouse hooked up to the mainline computer. Carangelo estimates that since 1975 the company has had a 40% increase in overall productivity because of the computer advances it has made. "It could be much greater," adds Carangelo. "And it's improving constantly as we update, add new programs, and provide more feedback to the men on the floor."

The system goes into effect when a retailer calls in an order to the mainline computer, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The order is processed by the computer, establishing product selection documents and invoices. All special instructions from the retailer on how the shipment should be loaded and delivered are also fed into the computer. This information is summarized by the transportation department in the routing of the trucks. The computer helps the dispatcher design the load and relay special instructions to the selector and driver. It also coordinates backhaul loads (up to 40% in the last two years).

A terminal in the receiving department is used to keep track of incoming orders. The computer makes it possible for an incoming load to be "crashed" through. This means if a receiving order is called in the night before, the product can be sold before it arrives in the warehouse and is physically unloaded. "That way," says Carangelo, "no sales are lost and customers have product to sell."

By keeping track of all warehouse activities, the computer allows Carangelo to closely monitor productivity and efficiency. He receives reports from every department in warehouse and transportation. His weekly distribution report confirms man hours, payroll, overtime, cases per hour, and even the number of invoices printed and the cost per invoice. The computer also generates data on pallet and inventory control. All of this information is presented as year-to-date and weekly figures. Carangelo also receives cost projections for the upcoming week so those costs can be measured against actual budgets.

In the trasnportation section, the computer provides feedback on loads per day, backhaul, drivers' wages, cost per ton, cost per mile and per trip, tons per load, the number of breakdowns, the gallons of fuel used, the number of stops, cases per stop, and cases per load. It also projects the amount of fuel that will be needed for the upcoming week and how many loads will go out each day of the week.

This information enables Carangelo to project schedules and costs and to increase productivity and efficiency. With the information in the computer report, Carangelo can, for example, question a supervisor as to why a man's productivity dropped during a certain week. He can immediately check out why certain loads came up short and take care of the problems. With the computer, he can make sure the right questions are asked and that the problems are rectified. Monitoring Maintenance

The computer system also allows Carangelo to keep track of equipment repairs and building maintenance. "Every piece of equipment in this warehouse, right down to the lightbulbs, has a computer code," says Carangelo. "I know when a repair is needed, who performs the repair, when it is done, how long it takes, and what it costs. As a results, I know what it is costing to maintain this building and the fleet at all times.

"Everything that is done on a truck--an oil change, a motor job, replacing the rear ends--is noted in the computer report. For example, we do a voltage test and a hydrometer reading on all batteries that we own. This information is logged in the computer. We do our own battery rebuilding and we change our own battery cells. now we know when these things need attention.

"As another example, we're having some problems with our freezer floor, so I'm monitoring our temperature probes. My maintenance man logs that information into the computer so I can keep an eye on it on a daily basis. If a problem arises, I can get to it right away. These things may sound small, but they add up to dollars saved."

Energy output is also controlled by a separate computer. It monitors all refrigeration units, air conditioning and heating. The lights are not on the computerized system, however, because there's too much flexibility in overtime hours. They are manually controlled by a watchman.

Another computerized program that has proven very successful for Bozzuto's is its "catchway" system. This program covers all variable-weight items such as meat and deli products. It ensures that customers are charged for what they receive.

Each variable-weight item is coded in the computer with its weight and date of receipt. Receiving labels are affixed to the appropriate cases. Each label includes the product item code, the weight of the box and a slot number. The label has an unglued stub on the right side that carries the same serieal number and weight.

As each code is chosen, an employee removes the stub and places it on his selection document. This eliminates any error due to illegible or incorrect writing of weights by the selector.

The computer automatically prepares the charge for each shipment and retailers are given detailed item bills with each shipment so that they can check the accuracy of their order when they receive it.

This way the catchway system establishes a check-and-recheck program for variable-weight merchandise. The merchandise is first checked case by case in receiving. It is then entered by the receiving clerk and reviewed by the accounts payable department. Then the merchandise is checked by a shipping clerk and warehouse supervisor. And finally, the driver and customer review it on delivery.

There are many other ways retailers directly benefit from the wealth of information provided by the computer. When the retailer receives merchandise from Bozzuto's he is also given a computer report which states the total cost he has incurred. In many wholesale operations this information is not available until the week after the load has been shipped.

Velocity reports tell the retailer what he's ordering, allowing him to know whether merchandise is flowing into his store correctly. Bozzuto's management information systems also provide the retailer with financial reports such as payroll information and financial statements. Bozzuto's retail counselors use this data to assist retailers in various areas of their operation. Mini Maximizes Control

In an expansion of its computerized services, Bozzuto's also provides central programming functions for its retailers through a mini-computer program. The retailer purchases the hardware (the in-store mini-computer) and the wholesaler provides the software--70 programs--free of charge as a service to its customers. The mini-computer, linked to Bozzuto's main-line system, provides controls and reporting techniques that enable a retailer to monitor his entire operation.

One of the most important controls it offers is on direct store delivery, an area where good controls are often lacking. The system assists the retailer in assuring that incoming merchandise is authorized, that costs are correct, and that prices are correctly marked on the merchandise. The report shows the reatil price, gross cost, discount and rebate, gross margin, net cost, and net margin for each of the vendor's products. The mini-computer also aids the retailer in planning advertising and projecting the effect of advertising plans on bottom-line sales.

The computer, however, is not the only technology Bozzuto's is using to lower costs and increase productivity.

Bozzuto's recently updated its fleet with Thermal King SB-1Fuel Savers, a new air-ride system, roll-a-matic doors and two-temperature fans. The new roll-a-matic doors and two-temperature fans withing the trailers make it possible to vary the amount of space needed for perishables and frozens on the same truck. The door can be rolled from the front of the trailer 20 feet back to the rear, providing greater flexibility in load scheduling.

The air-ride system, already installed in 25% of the total fleet, has cut damages by 80% in loads on those trucks. "It's especially important in perishables," says Carangelo. "We used to have hundreds of loaves of bread damaged. Now our damage on bread is very low. This is true of eggs and other perishable items, as well."

Bozzuto's also shrink wraps all pallets to hold down damage. "It's expensive," admits Carangelo, "but the benefits outweight the cost. We want to wipe out damage 100%."

Progressive Grocer's Annual Report of the Grocery Industry found that nearly 90% of independents and 86% of chains made equipment purchases last year, with the average independent's tab adding up to $36,800. Not surpisingly, the bigger the store, the more money it spent on equipment and fixtures. Those independents who report the sales potential in their area is declining, are the ones who bought the most new equipment, obviously in hopes of sprucing up their stores to attract more shoppers.

some of last years's equipment investments reflect merchandising trends prevalent in particular parts of the country. For example, independent operators in the North Atlantic region bought significantly more deli and bakery cases than did their counterparts in other areas, probably to keep pace with competitors' moves to more of these high profit, perimeter service departments. And digital scales for use in these departments and other areas of the store were popular purchases last year for both independents and chains, especially at larger stores.

Glass door freezer cases also became increasingly common with both segments, particularly in larger units where energy savings is a major consideration.

Here's a selection of the lates in time-, energy-and labor-saving equipment for the front end, the backroom, and everywhere in-between. Also included are display merchandisers and foodservice equipment for the increasingly important specialty departments. All the equipment featured on this and the following pages may be viewed at the FMI Convention in Dallas, on May 6 through 9. Grapefruit Juicer For In-Store Use

The Model 105G Grapefruit machine by Juice Tree Inc., Dept. PG, 12151 Monarch, Garden Grove, Calif. 92641, is designed to squeeze 80 quarts of juice per hour, or to handle 8-9 grapefruit per minute. The juicer's stainless steel reservoir holds 10 quarts of fresh juice, and its feed hopper easily accepts a full 40-pound carton of fruit at one loading. Upright Freezer For Meats or Seafood

A four-foot, upright freezer for spot merchandising frozen turkeys, seafood and meats is being introduced by Warren/Sherer, Dept. PG, 1600 Industrial Blvd., Conyers, Ga. 30207. The freezer features high-output fluorescent lights in the canopy and front rail to provide uniform lighting for the entire product area and enhance product appeal. The interchangeable shelves can be merchandised in straight or staggered rows to suit various product sizes. Specialty Service Cases Are Italian Imports

CRIOSBANC, a manufacturer of specialty service display cases in Italy, is offering its line to the American market through Scatena York Co., Dept. PG, 2000 Oakdale Ave., San Francisco, Calif. 94124. Designed for merchandising fresh meats, deli items, fish, hot foods, bakery products or other specialty items, the cases come in six different styles. The Climax line and SP-2 Bakery Case line, for example, feature curved, fully-tempered lift-up front glass for easy cleaning and display arrangement. Other design features include ceramic tile lighted front, contoured glass, usable canopy for scales or product, rear counter in stainless steel or marble, rear refrigerated storage drawers and dry storage. Installing Bottom Shelf Molding Is A Snap

A new snap-on bottom shelf molding, designed to improve the presentation of bottom shelf labels, is being offered by Creative Data Services Inc., Dept. PG, P.O. Box 1391, Maryland Heights, Mo. 63043. The molding is angled upward to enable shoppers to read the labels on bottom shelf items without stooping or bending. It easily snaps onto most shelf channeling. Can Return Machine Handles 45 Per Minute

The Can Can Machine which processes 45 cans per minute and counts by both brand and store identification, enables retailers to establish their own premium or cents-off offer for returned cans. The machine, by Tomra Systems U.S., Inc., Dept. PG, 5774 Peachtree-Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta, GA. 30342, issues instant credit to the customer in the form of a printed receipt. A display slot on the unit allows retailers to promote current redemption specials. Commodity Control/Labeling system Is Expandable

A commodity control/labeling system by National Controls Inc., Dept. PG, P.O. Box 1501, Santa Rosa, claif. 95402, prices by pieces or pounds, instantly records transactions, and is said to be easily expandable. The system includes an electronic controller/printer, scale and optional remote printer. An easty-to-read digital display prompts the operator through the sequence of keystrokes and the familiar keyboard makes it easy to learn. Lobster Tank In The Round

A lobster barrel for in-store displays of live lobster, clams, oysters, crab and fish is available in 60-, 100- and 180-gallon sizes. The uniquely shapped tank comes complete with thermostatically controlled refrigeration, dual filtration systems, accessories and heavy duty casters. It can hold 100 pounds of lobster in only 16 square feet of floor space, according to Aquaria Inc., Dept. PG, 21500 Nordhoff St., Chatsworth, Calif. 91311. Checkout Systems For Warehouse Stores

Triple-belt checkout systems in 38 models designed for warehouse and super warehouse store formats are available from Unique checkout Systems, Dept. PG, 1611 East Main ST., St. Charles, Ill. 60174. They range in size from 12 feet 1 inch to 24 feet in length and include manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic belt control systems. Bulk Bins Designed With Guidelines in Mind

Acrylic bins and see-through barrel covers for merchandising bulk foods are available from Acryline Inc., Dept. PG, P.O. Box 709, N. Attleboro, Mass. 02761. The line features radius covers, self closing lids, and scoop holders with lanyards, to comply with FDA guidelines. Roof-Mounted Compressor Room

To save floor space, a roof-mounted or slab-mounted compressor room with a heating and air conditioning system is being offered by Engineered Refrigeration Systems Inc., Dept. PG, 1490 Parker Rd., conyers, Ga. 30207. The room includes all the refrigeration compressors, piped and wired for final connections to the fixtures and electrical service. The closures are made of weatherproof aluminum. Set Up A Salad Bar That's Sanitary and Colorful

Two new Salad Islands are being added to the Food Furniture line of Progressive Technology, Dept. PG, 360 Harmon Ave., Lebanon, Ohio 45036. Both units are constructed of a one-piece, molded fiberglass top, two fiberglass bases and a retractable polycarbonate sneeze guard. They are available in a variety of colors to coordinate with store decor. In-Store Financial Services Terminal

The TABS 905 Express Cash Dispenser, a three-step, consumer-operated system for cash delivery and account balance inquiry is being introduced by Diebold Inc., Dept. PG, Canton, Ohio 44711. To utilize the terminal, a customer simply inserts his access card, enters a secret number and selects the desired cash withdrawal amount and/or balance inquiry. Currency is delivered into an open tray and a printed record is provided with each transaction. Slow Cooker For Tender, Juicy Meats

A 1,000-pound capacity slow cooker, said to be ideal for supermarket deli production, is designed to cook beef, pork, and poultry by the steam heating method for more tender results. The unit, by Groen Division/dover Corp., Dept. PG, 1900 Bratt Blvd., Elk Grove Village, Ill. 60007, has automatic controls which enable operators to do overnight cooking during off-peak hours. 'Kiddie' Cart Seat Belts Are Custom-Printed

Shopping cart seat belts designed with child safety in mind are available from Safe-Strap Co., Dept. PG, 201 Bridge Plaza N., Fort Lee, N.J. 07024. The belts can be custom-printed and are made of non-toxic textiles with high-impact buckles and permanent fasteners. According to the company, they do not interfere with cart nesting. Bread/Roll Merchandiser Is a Natural

Structural Concepts Corp., Dept. PG, 17237 Van Wagoner Rd. Spring Lake, Mich. 49456, is introducing a Crusty Bread Merchandiser crafted of real maple and wicker to create a "natural" look. The design is said to be compatible with all of the company's bakery merchandising products including the Structa, Self-Service and Continental Series cases.
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Author:Johnson, Mary
Publication:Progressive Grocer
Date:May 1, 1984
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