ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- As part of its efforts to cut costs from the supply chain, Wegmans Food Markets here has expanded its use of both advance ship notices and UCC-128 technology. The retailer has seen significant reductions in receiving time, especially when the two are combined.
Wegmans is receiving ASNs -- electronic "packing slips" sent from vendors to distributors -- from 45 companies sending products from more than 90 ship points. Vendors include those in grocery, perishables and general merchandise/health and beauty care. Eight months ago, Wegmans was receiving ASNs from 25 of its grocery, general merchandise and perishables suppliers.
"We are experiencing a receiving-time reduction of 30 minutes with the use of ASNs and 60 minutes when combined with UCC-128s," said Wayne Smith, grocery supply chain manager at Wegmans. "As we work with more partners, there will be more improvements in this area."
Use of an ASN is required to use a UCC-128, Smith explained. The ASN provides the information about the product shipped and is transmitted to the retailer prior to the load arriving.
At the time of receiving, the UCC-128, a "license plate" for the pallet, identifies everything that is on the pallet. Scanning this bar-code label receives product into the retailer's system. The information is then verified against the ASN.
"The use of ASNs continues to grow and is much more widely used than UCC-128 in the grocery industry at this time," Smith said. "When used together, there is increased efficiency and accuracy at the point of receiving."
Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, was the first vendor Wegmans worked with in receiving UCC-128 data. The retailer is currently receiving UCC-128s from General Mills, Minneapolis, and Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., as well as P&G.
"The accuracy of ASN data is what it is all about," Smith said. "If the transmitted information is not correct, you have wasted the entire effort. We team with vendors to test the data before the project begins. If the data is not clean and accurate, it actually increases the receiving time and creates work. We can not go forward without accurate ASN data."