Edward Don & Company is the world’s leading distributor of foodservice equipment and supplies. The key components of Edward Don’s continued success are their knowledgeable sales staff, unmatched product offering, strategic nationwide distribution network and the integration of new technology. These ingredients combine to make them the preferred supplier for all types of food service businesses including: independent restaurants, national chains, healthcare, hospitality, schools and universities, government institutions, and foodservice management.
Hytrol and the integration partner worked with Edward Don & Company to create a system that was user friendly, energy-efficient and customized to fit the company’s specific type of product. With an inventory of 12,000 unique items available for shipment, it is easy to see why integrating new technology was critical for Edward Don & Company.
The new facility, which houses the corporate headquarters, is located in Woodridge, IL. When compared to the old facility, the new facility is 55,000 square feet larger in space with increased ceiling clearance. The taller ceilings and facility design allowed for an increase in cubic space, which increased the overall storage capacity. This increase means they can store twice as many reserve pallets, while picking and shipping up to six times more product using new picking methods allowed by the new system.
Mark Zabloudil, vice president of operations, was pleased with the competitive advantage delivered by the new system. “We looked at putting the conveyors in, which really afforded us an opportunity to make ourselves more efficient in how we process orders today, but then also afforded us the opportunity to bid on other business that we couldn’t compete against because our cost structure, based on our old method of processing orders, was too high.”
Zabloudil also commented on their decision to work with an integration partner. “In researching the best industry practices, we decided to leverage the experience of a Hytrol integration partner. During the early design process, the integration partner took the time to learn every detail behind Edward Don & Company’s operation and designed the most efficient system possible.”
“We walked the facility, and I pointed out the different types of materials we store, the different types of processes on a given night, not only just from the size but also the wide variety. From liquids to bulk-type items, they really worked with us to come up with the right solution for our facility.”
After the initial walk through, the integration partner suggested that Edward Don test the more unique items on the automated system at Hytrol’s Technology Center. Testing the products also allowed Zabloudil and his team to see Hytrol’s efficient products in action and to discuss new industry-leading system techniques.
“The time and commitment Hytrol put forth to allow us to test these materials, that in and of itself was one of the critical points in the discussion and the decision.”
Zabloudil brought his unique perspective to the project, allowing Hytrol and the integration partner to fully understand the new system requirements. “They looked at it from the technical perspective and how to design the system. I brought the practical perspective and the operator use of the system, and they were very interested in my opinion. That was really one of the differentiating factors that I thought was very important. That’s why I felt comfortable with going with Hytrol.”
Edward Don’s new facility and automated system provides efficient processing of orders, shifting the workforce in the direction of less order pickers and more people contributing to quality control of the shipments. The system also benefits Edward Don’s maintenance department because of its inherent integration of similar components and the education of the maintenance personnel, which began during the implementation of the system.
“The biggest take away is our ability to process orders in a very efficient manner. I knew going in that we would have a lot of built-in efficiencies. From a process perspective, our numbers increased significantly. And they’ve gone from a number that was very much a standard we use in labor to greatly exceeding that. With the new system, I’m almost doubling those pick rates, without any type of labor standards. “
“The electric bill with the new conveyor system is about half of what it was at our old facility. So we have the same office square footage, much more light in the facility, and our electric bills are much less expensive. This comes from the use of E24™ and the efficiencies that we get from it, but also the overall layout has helped significantly.”
“It would have been very easy to take the conservative way out, over-spec the equipment, but then I would be paying for that in the long-term. Hytrol and the integration partner worked with me to really design the right type of equipment for the application, and we’re going to save as long as we have the system in place.”
By including Mark in the process of understanding the design and layout of the system, Hytrol and its integration partner created a special type of relationship for Edward Don, a relationship that has proven to be invaluable.
“Everyone really had a vested interested to make the system a success. So the comfort level that I have, that I was able to convey to the leadership here in the organization, was one that we had the right team working on this. We got the right system.”