Home WMS Loffredo Fresh Produce Solves Growth Challenges with AFS Expertise and Solutions

Loffredo Fresh Produce Solves Growth Challenges with AFS Expertise and Solutions

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Business Opportunity

Established in 1892, Loffredo Fresh Produce has successfully grown over the years and once again recently found themselves staring at a significant growth opportunity.

Back in the late 1800s, the company was a grow and sell operation. As you might imagine there wasn’t an interstate system or a logistics network available quite yet. They grew fruits and tobacco because that’s what grew well in the Midwest, selling locally.

Over the past 20 years, Loffredo expanded its geographical footprint along with inventory types. According to the company’s CFO Brian Loffredo, its warehouse capacity expanded across additional markets and today same-day service within the expanded coverage base is offered.

“Our company is currently owned by the fourth generation and we have multiple members of the fifth generation, my generation, working in the business,” Loffredo says.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, the food distributor provides specialty items, and non-produce items like liquid and solid dairy, spices, pasta, other dry goods, and a frozen hors d’oeuvre line, however, produce remains its “bread and butter.”

This significant growth opportunity in front of the distrubutor carried a number of challenges including issues related to:

  • nightly order selection,
  • inventory accuracy, and
  • increased pick errors.

To drive business growth, Loffredo reached out to AFS as a food distribution expert to solve the company’s growth challenges through the AFS WMS purpose-built software solution.

AFS WMS Solution

Loffredo Produce needed a Tier 1 WMS from a software provider that understood food, food distribution, and the special requirements related to handling produce. Core to selecting the right software was the ability for the automated solution to eliminate inefficiency and pick errors due to inventory discrepancies and spoilage. The primary improvement focus was picking efficiency.

“AFS WMS offers so much more control for our office staff. In addition to enhanced visibility to pick assignments and pallet selection, we can also ensure the trucks are getting picked in the right order,” Loffredo notes.  

Benefits Across Operation

Loffredo Produce now enjoys a whopping 31 percent night shift throughput improvement since implementing AFS WMS

“We’re not sending selectors to slots that don’t have inventory anymore. Many times, we’re waiting on products to come in that night even though picking has already started. Those items are getting sent directly into a pending task to select once the inventory arrives. We’re not only seeing picking speed improve, but also picking accuracy. We’re seeing that our fulfiller rates have gone up and our shorts and mis-picks are way down,” Loffredo adds. 

With AFS WMS Loffredo Produce reduced pick errors by 250 percent, from 1 in every 750 cases to 1 in 2,000 cases, with operational improvement in process to improve further. Loffredo also reports a significant improvement in inventory accuracy based on the overall automation of their inventory management processes which also results in a significant reduction in daily labor hours.

“We’re worrying less about inventory and inventory accuracy, so that’s a huge value to us. We are no longer seeing as many picking errors. Visibility of inventory close to expiring and executing rotation based on receipt and expiration dates has significantly improved the quality of our inventory,” Loffredo adds. 

Loffredo cites a significant 15 percent reduction in inventory spoilage as a key solution benefit.

“The receiving accuracy and increased speed of the AFS WMS solution was a welcome change as compared to the painstaking process that was in place,” he says.

AFS WMS adds instant verification of counts and puts a license plate on a pallet right when it walks in our building so that we’re able to track inventory from any computer. Loffredo is taking advantage of the AFS WMS directed put-away capability and reporting in order to maximize warehouse space and slotting.

“Now with AFS WMS, the system gets us close to the pick slot, making sure the slot can handle it size-wise,” he shares.

WMS automates a process that in the past created operator inefficiency while they searched for open locations using tribal knowledge.  The solution also greatly improves replenishments, with AFS WMS reducing the travel time to fill the slot and directing to the next oldest pallet based on rotation.

“We’ve merged visibility and automated decision making with our manual processes allowing us to focus on efficiency, which removes the burden of having to overthink dates, saving time and preventing the wrong product to be placed in the slot,” Loffredo shares. “Food safety is job one and AFS WMS is core to that process given the solution is flagging us and saying you have to check to make sure that the inbound trailer temperature was correct, product temperature was in range, the wheels were chalked, and there were no odors in the trailer. AFS WMS provides the capability to answer all the various questions that are required as part of food safety and receive that truck into the system, complying with all food safety guidelines to stay food safety compliant.”

“Before AFS WMS we were counting each of our warehouses in full, multiple times a week. Today we’re counting 20 percent of our slots daily. Within a week we’re hitting each of our slots, but it’s more of a controlled task-driven process,” Loffredo concludes.

The other major gain is the ability to focus on counting slots where inventory discrepancies typically occur. Loffredo shares that new features like “picker count back” which allow staff to have order selectors count as they go and reduce the amount of time spent on inventory management is exciting.
 

Return on Investment Summary

  • 31 percent night shift throughput improvement
  • 250 percent reduction pick errors
  • 15 percent reduction in inventory spoilage
  • 80 percent reduction of daily slots counting