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Southeastern Food Merchandisers Triumphs In Adverse Weather Conditions

Southeastern Food Merchandisers Triumphs In Adverse Weather Conditions


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Southeastern Food Merchandisers Triumphs In Adverse Weather Conditions

Jan 28, 2020

During the first week in March, icy rain and snow blanketed much of Southeastern Foods Merchandisers’ network, forcing the distributor to postpone deliveries of food-service products to some customers.

Its restaurant customers in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and northern Florida continued to send in new orders, creating a weather-imposed backlog.  The company turned to its dynamic routing system from Paragon Systems to re-route deliveries and keep them supplied.

The software factored in historical order volumes for the week to show managers how the rest of the week would pan out, says Jason Chestnut, director of operations for the Pelham, Ala.-based company.  Chestnut also modeled various “what if” scenarios to thwart surprises like drivers having to reset their hours if some deliveries were pushed out to Sunday. “I couldn’t imagine doing it without Paragon from Aptean,” he says.

“I couldn’t imagine doing it without Paragon from Aptean,” 

Jason ChestnutDirector of OperationsSoutheastern Foods Merchandisers

Commercial or private fleets with fixed routes like Southeastern Foods typically schedule multiple pickups and deliveries per truck each day, as do fleets with more dynamic routes with less-than-truckload and parcel-size shipments.

Besides helping fleets to cut costs and keep customer service commitments, dynamic routing software has become a hot commodity for technology companies looking to expand their reach into all segments of the transportation industry.

Southeastern Foods has been using Paragon routing and scheduling software for about six years. Transportation managers use it daily to fine-tune fixed routes for 20 trucks, and to periodically redesign its overall network. Recently, about two-thirds of all routes were re-designed to achieve a cost savings of 15% through a reduction in fuel, mileage and labor.

Chestnut says the software helps with testing various strategic “what if” scenarios like what the impact would be of using more straight trucks rather than semi-trailers in the fleet. Going forward, the company will be using smaller trucks and operating multiple shifts. “We absolutely learned that by having Paragon from Aptean,” he says.

Southeastern developed its own order management system, which interfaces with Paragon from Aptean to send daily order files that contain delivery details. Once Paragon from Aptean builds a route plan for the orders, transportation managers review and save routes for that day. The route data is then automatically sent to drivers through the company’s mobile computing platform to execute in sequence.

Southeastern Foods also uses Paragon from Aptean to compare the route plan with actual performance. Position data captured from its mobile system comes back to Paragon from Aptean for post-mortem analysis. Managers can also see within Paragon from aptean how routes are progressing at any time during the day, he says.

Southeastern Food Merchandisers

Quick FactsBenefits reported
Alabama-based QSR distributor15% cost saving from reducing fuel, mileage and labor
Delivering frozen, chilled and ambient food productsImproved post-mortem transportation analysis using planned and real data
Distributing throughout Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and the North Florida panhandleAbility to model 'what if' scenarios and prepare for possible problems
Privately-owned fleetSeamlessly integrated with order management system
20 trucks; Fixed route planningQuickly re-routed deliveries to maintain service and clear weather-imposed backlog

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