November 01, 2018 09:00 AM
What began in the 1960s as a line of spices and sauces distributed from the back of Jim Lipari’s station wagon to grocers throughout Michigan, today is one of the most successful food distributors in the United States—family-owned and operated Lipari Foods. Over the years, Lipari’s growth has come in many forms: acquisitions of distribution businesses, partnerships with several wholesale warehouses, and product expansion into packaging, seafood, and confections.
Based in Warren, Michigan, the company owns and operates a large distribution center consisting of three warehouses that total more than 500,000 square feet. From this central facility, Lipari’s truck fleet delivers to 11 states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Illinois) six days per week.
They are able to take orders by 4 p.m. ET each day and ensure delivery to customers by the next morning. This high level of performance is accomplished through a combination of dedicated employees, a progressive commitment to world-class information technology systems, and effective process management that optimizes the company’s technology investments.
In the late 1990s, Thom Lipari, President and CEO of Lipari Food Distributors and son of Jim Lipari, wanted to further improve the company’s customer service levels by implementing a voice selecting program within his warehouse. However, once he began researching business requirements and best practices for a technology upgrade, he realized that the systems he currently was using to run his enterprise and warehouse processes were not dynamic or robust enough to achieve his business objectives.
Lipari searched for a software provider that could create a flexible, dependable and powerful IT foundation that would dramatically improve the warehouse systems. After an extensive vendor review, he selected NCR Power Enterprise and Power Warehouse to automate his supply chain processes.
“Our warehouse and enterprise processes were largely manual, which led to inefficiencies and errors. We wanted to enhance our operations while increasing customer service for the grocers that we serve,” Lipari said. “NCR Power Enterprise and Power Warehouse solutions not only fit our IT and operational needs, but gave us the flexibility to adapt to ever-changing market conditions and evolving company strategies. We wanted to convert to as many NCR Power solutions as possible.”
Lipari deployed the NCR Power Enterprise product suite across his distribution facility, which included: Power Enterprise, Power Warehouse, Power Net, Power Processing and Power Sell, along with additional modules.
The NCR Power Enterprise suite provides food distributors like Lipari Foods a complete solution to manage and run their business with operational accuracy and access to data in real time. Power Warehouse manages existing inventory levels and gives distributors complete control over their warehouses and distribution centers. After gathering information on warehouse operations, the system automates a multitude of processes, including receiving, returns processing, order selection, shipping and inventory control, and optimized each step of the operation. Power Warehouse was installed with a number of modules, including Power Voice for voice-enabled tasks and Power Processing, which manages and helps process random-weight items sold to retailers or restaurants.
“Power Enterprise and Power Warehouse have provided us with a dynamic system that gives us a big advantage in the marketplace,” said Lipari. “Having the ability to automatically track the items on a time-received basis helps us efficiently manage inventory, and fast access to our supply chain data helps us quickly make strategic business decisions.”
NCR Power Net is a web-based customer self-service portal that allows the user to view their account information and create orders online. The solution is designed to improve customer service levels, reduce service costs and increase average order size.
Lipari says that in addition to efficiencies provided within the warehouse, the Power Enterprise applications have enhanced the company’s ability to quickly access and analyze data.
NCR Power Enterprise solutions have been very successful at Lipari Foods, with results including:
“Unlike most technology providers, NCR has always shown a strong commitment to re-inventing themselves and their products as the food service industry continues to evolve,” said Lipari. “They’re a true business partner that has made a positive, significant impact on our operations, while helping us consistently elevate our customer service.”
Lipari says that NCR’s commitment to continuous product development and enhancements has made the company a trusted IT partner of choice. Since their initial investment with NCR, the distributor has added multiple supply chain solutions, including Power Sell, Power Mobile, Power+ MDM and Power+ Purchasing.