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Unified Western Grocers Employs Retalix WMS to More Efficiently Deliver the Goods

COMMERCE, Calif. - After successful implementations at two distribution centers, retailer-owned grocery distributor Unified Western Grocers plans to roll out the Retalix Triceps warehouse management solution to its remaining four DCs during the next year.

Unified installed Triceps in its Commerce, Calif. distribution center earlier this summer, following the successful installation at the Portland, Ore. facility last year, which enabled Unified to deliver new levels of service to the company's 2,000 independent retailer members throughout their six-state service area. Linked to the Retalix MDS Yard and Dock application, the system ensures timely and accurate delivery to UWG's stores.

"The main reason for implementing the system is to reduce gridlock out in the yard," Greg Vick, Unified's director of distribution and Web systems told Progressive Grocer. "At times, the yard gets so busy that we didn't have the space to move the trailers around. The Triceps system allows us to keep a finger on what is going on in the yard, as it is filling up, or slowing down, and allows us to take appropriate measures to keep things operating efficiently."

In addition, the system tracks orders and ensures that trucks are prioritized accordingly. "The system interfaces with our buying system, and ensures that we have the most needed products out the door first," said Vick. "This way, if a store is low on products, we can get to them before an out-of-stock occurs."

This contrasts greatly to the previous system Unified used, which was basically nothing more than a group of people running around the yard with pads, peering into trucks to keep track of inventory. "We were double stacking trailers all over the yard, and it was often difficult to reach the one in back," said Vick. "It was nearly impossible to get to a truck you needed to remedy an out of stock."

The Triceps implementation is part of UWG's initiative to achieve real-time warehousing. Other aspects of this initiative include hands-free voice-activated picking technology from Vocollect -- which has already been implemented in one DC -- and RF technology on forklifts.

-- Joe Tarnowski
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