Mobile Computing Helps Pasta Manufacturer Reduce Errors & Increase Productivity
After originally opening as an Italian deli and small restaurant specializing in organic fresh pasta and sauces, owner Steve Simonovich transitioned Santa Cruz Pasta Factory into a manufacturing and production operation. Now distributing to Bay Area grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Simonovich began running into trouble with his company’s manual processes – seeing a major increase in invoicing errors costing hundreds of dollars each month.
After engaging with Intermec partner MSA Systems to develop and implement new software to manage their invoicing processes, the company deployed Intermec CN50 rugged mobile computers and PB51 rugged mobile printers to their fleet of delivery drivers, seeing immediate savings as a result.
A Streamlined Solution
In order to transition from their completely paper-based system – which relied on basic carbon copy invoices and a back office bookkeeper to manually enter all of the invoice data – Santa Cruz Pasta Factory worked with MSA Systems to create a simple software system that would offer a seamless integration. As a small company, Simonovich wanted to make sure any technology updates were intuitive, easy to implement and cost effective.
The company’s delivery operations consist of the following: drivers make weekly deliveries to grocery stores around the Bay Area, taking in-store inventory and creating invoices all by hand at each location. Because each store has its own unique order of the company’s 26 product lines – all at varying prices – the manual invoices took drivers time and attention, causing them to spend nearly 40 minutes at each location before moving to the next. Additionally, the manual entry was causing increased errors. If drivers made a mistake on the hand-written invoices, it was hard to go back to each store to request additional funds. This caused the company to lose hundreds of dollars each month simply from hand-written errors.
“We looked to make a basic technology implementation that would help us move forward with our business operations without causing a major headache in terms of daily use,” said Simonovich. “But, not only were we looking for those criteria, we were also looking for something that would offer a much easier invoicing system and decrease some of the dollars we were spending on our paper processes.”
Under the new system, drivers are able to use the Intermec CN50s to complete all inventory – scanning in products to automatically create invoices. Once invoices are created, the Intermec PB51 printers quickly print off invoices and automatically sync with the company’s accounting system.
Once the software was finalized and the Intermec hardware was chosen, MSA Systems trained Simonovich on the new system, and he trained his staff.
“I was shocked at how fast they picked it up,” said Simonovich. “You assume going from a manual to computer-based operation will take a bit of time to get everyone fully up and running, but after showing the drivers how to work the new system, it was literally about 30 minutes before they were ready to go. It was incredible how easy the Intermec devices were to use.”
Other surprising benefits? The speed of the devices and overall battery life.
“The speed between the CN50 and the printer is very, very quick – it spits out the invoices amazingly fast,” said Simonovich. “Additionally, drivers have never had to use a battery charger on any of the 10 hour shifts – the battery life keeps up just fine, and we are able to simply charge at the end of the day – this is a huge benefit to keep our drivers on the go.”
In terms of increased productivity, Simonovich estimates drivers spend about half the time at each store location than they used to.
“The time our drivers currently spend in the grocery stores has gone from 40 minutes or more to right around 20 minutes,” Simonovich said. Furthermore, the time Simonovich’s drivers spent taking inventory and creating the invoice went from 25 minutes before the implementation to five minutes at the most. “This enables us to do even more stores in a given day than we were able to before, and we don’t have to worry about errors or closing each day with manual invoice entry.”
In fact, the time savings allows the drivers to stop at three to four more stores on the route, which has allowed Simonovich to grow his business without adding an additional driver and van.
Additionally, the company was spending considerable time entering invoices into the accounting system. This is now automated, as invoices go directly into the company’s accounting system when the CN50s are docked each night.
Not only are they saving money on accounting, but the material cost of the paper alone was costing the company hundreds of dollars each month – something they are also saving big on under their new system. The cost per invoice went from $0.18 to fractions of a cent under the new system, and this savings adds up considering the number of invoices per month.
In the Future
For now, Simonovich says he’s incredibly pleased with the boost the new technology has given his business.
“I could definitely envision us rolling this out to other aspects of our company, especially as we look toward expanding into product shipments outside of the Bay Area,” Simonovich said.
This case study was provided by Intermec Inc.
Intermec Inc. (NYSE:IN) develops and integrates products, services and technologies that identify, track and manage supply chain assets and information. Core technologies include rugged mobile computing and data collection systems, bar code printers, label media, and RFID. The company’s products and services are used by customers in many industries worldwide to improve the productivity, quality and responsiveness of business operations. For more information about Intermec, visit http://www.intermec.com or call 800-347-2636.
About MSA Systems, Inc.
MSA Systems, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in San Jose, CA with offices in Anaheim CA, Portland OR, Phoenix, Sierra Vista AZ and Denver CO. They provide turn-key field mobility solutions, warehouse management solutions, bar coding and RFID software and hardware as well as the related wired and wireless infrastructure services. They are an authorized partner and reseller of Accellos, Mobile Frame, Motorola / Symbol Technologies, Zebra, and Intermec, among other key mobile and data capture technology providers. http://www.msasys.com/
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