Before the Internet revolution, there was a quieter revolution that had a great impact on the general population. This was the revolution of systems development in food retail which completely changed the way food retailers managed their fresh food. Applied Data Corporation (ADC) has been at the forefront of this fresh food management revolution, breaking new ground for the past 27 years. As Stephen Loveridge, Executive Chairman, ADC puts it, “We discovered the requirements and developed the solutions as we moved forward.”
ADC began helping fresh food retailers by creating InterScale, a brand-neutral software system that provides interoperability between different brands of scales. This scale management system has evolved into a software suite called InterStore made up of four systems: InterScale for scales management, NutriGen for recipe management, M-Squared for meat management, and P-Cubed for perishable production planning and shrink waste management. Each system has a specific purpose, but they are fully integrated for seamless cross-functionality.
For example, if apple pie is produced in the bakery, InterScale actively watches the barcode labelling transactions and will use the information detected to increment the on-hand apple pie inventory. At the same time, thanks to its integration with NutriGen, it is able to precisely understand the ingredients that were used in the production of those apple pies and decrement the on-hand inventory of those ingredients. If the ingredients reach a reorder threshold, it will generate an order to replenish those ingredients.
“NutriGen generates the nutritional facts of any food based on an analysis of the recipe, correctly formats the ingredients on the label, automatically identifies allergens within a given set of ingredients, and enables bolding of allergens within the ingredients list so customers can get an idea of the relative proportions of those allergens,” adds Loveridge. NutriGen also allows ingredients vendors to access the system to input and maintain the food safety information, removing the burden from the retailer.
Our task and challenge is to understand the regulations and again do the abstraction into one common product that will work internationally
Customers of ADC enjoy a significant increase in sales and a reduction in waste with the use of InterStore. In the case of fresh rotisserie chickens, Brookshire Grocery set up a production point through ADC’s system for every hour throughout the day. Each hour the P-Cubed system looks at the historical sales and shrink of the rotisserie chicken on that day in that store. The system then predicts on an hourly basis how many chickens should be prepared.
This has brought enormous benefits to the supermarket chain. Brookshire saw a 30 percent increase in their business in terms of increased sales, without a significant rise in waste. For another retailer (a 200+ store chain), the same system reduced waste by 35 percent and saved them $1.4 million per year across the chain through increased revenue.
ADC has taken their InterStore suite to a global scale. They continue to innovate based on regulatory changes in the food industry. Loveridge says, “Our task and challenge is to understand the regulations and again do the abstraction into one common product that will work internationally and meet regulatory food requirements across the globe.”
In the end, Loveridge brings his incredible persistence, tenacity, and the need to take risks to foster growth and development at ADC. He states, “It’s about identifying an appropriate level of risk, and at the end of the day, it’s about survival.”