ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Furr's Supermarkets here is in the process of implementing supply-chain software that handles warehouse operations as well as buying functions and billing and reconciliation processes for its 68 stores. Furr's goal is to have these four applications fully installed by the fall.
The warehouse-management portion of the system will be installed at the 460,000-square-foot warehouse in El Paso, Texas, that Furr's is set to acquire from Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City.
"The system uses radio frequency control on the forklifts, which ties to putaway, letdown and selection," said John Granger, chief information officer at Furr's. "We expect to see increased efficiency and productivity as a result of using these systems."
In addition, the warehouse-management system will update inventory levels and order status in real time. This new system will replace a proprietary system from Fleming that is currently in place.
In the areas of billing and reconciliation, the supply-chain system is expected to eliminate a considerable amount of paper, reduce labor and improve accuracy.
"The reconciliation of the purchase order, the vendor invoice and the store-receiving document, each a separate piece of paper, generally had to be manually compared for accuracy," Granger said. "We're going to do that electronically now with the new system. This will greatly increase accuracy and processing speed. Only the mismatches will be dealt with manually."
The buying system, which is being implemented at Furr's headquarters here, will save buyers time and increase their efficiency on the job.
"The buying system's claim to fame is that along with showing buyers all the items that are available, it ensures that the buyers take advantage of all the deals that are about to go on or about to go off," Granger said. "In other words, the buyers can manage many times more items because they don't have to look at every item. The system looks at every item every day but only tells the buyer about the ones that he or she should be concerned about.".
Previously, Fleming took care of product buying from manufacturers and brokers for Furr's. "Our stores ordered and we simply passed them on to Fleming, so we didn't add any value in the middle of the process there," Granger said.
The supply chain software is from OMI International, Schaumburg, Ill. Electronic Data Systems, Plano, Texas, is working with OMI on the installation at the El Paso distribution center and at Furr's headquarters.
Currently, groceries and perishables are supplied to 56 of Furr's stores from the El Paso distribution center.