Business challenge

Working with some of the largest retailers in the United States, KeHE Distributors must ensure that its order fulfillment processes run like clockwork—or risk delivery delays that eat into margins.

Transformation

KeHE Distributors migrated key electronic data interchange (EDI) processes to a reliable, cost-effective value-added network, significantly reducing cost per kilo-character and boosting availability.

Results

Delivers

rock-solid reliability with zero unplanned downtime to date

Facilitates

efficient logistics processes and on-time deliveries

Cuts

operational costs substantially

Business challenge story

Serving the biggest names in retail

Working with some of the biggest names in the business, KeHE Distributors operates in the critical space between food suppliers and retailers to make sure that stores always have the optimal mix of products on their shelves. To achieve its goal, KeHE Distributors must orchestrate a complex logistics network to ensure it fulfills orders on time.

Carl Snyder, Manager of IT Customer Initiatives, KeHE Distributors, takes up the story: “In the fast-moving consumer goods space, margins are extremely tight, which means it is vital for us to operate as cost-efficiently as possible. If we miss a scheduled delivery window for any reason, our logistics team need to work overtime to ensure that our clients receive their orders, which drives up our operational costs.”

Like all leading distribution companies, KeHE Distributors relies on electronic data interchange (EDI) to exchange invoices and purchase orders with its suppliers and clients. For this reason, the company aims to ensure that its EDI processes run as smoothly and reliably as possible at all times.

“KeHE Distributors processes 1000s of transactions among many trading partners each month,” explains Carl Snyder. “Previously, we would occasionally experience outages in our value-added network [VAN], which often brought EDI traffic to a halt for several hours until the problem was fixed—increasing the risk of costly delivery delays. To prevent increased overheads from dulling our competitive edge, we had to ensure that our VAN was operational 24/7.”

“Without a doubt, our new value-added network is making it much easier for my lean team to deliver EDI services to support a large enterprise.”

—Carl Snyder, Manager of IT Customer Initiatives, KeHE Distributors

Transformation story

Achieving a smooth transition

To enable dependable trading partner integration, KeHE Distributors decided to migrate its EDI processes to a flexible, cloud-based VAN solution.

“We moved across all 62 trading partners in just 90 days, with zero disruption to our business,” remarks Carl Snyder. “The visibility we obtain from our new VAN was a key factor in the ease of the migration. Because we can see transactions down to the confirmation level, we could tell at a glance whether or not transactions were processing as expected. Performing the migration so quickly enabled us to start obtaining valuable cost-savings in a very short space of time.”

KeHE Distributors now has the assurance that transactions will process in a secure and stable environment, 24/7.

“In the past, whenever we experienced an outage, it was a painful process to restore business as usual and minimize the disruption to our logistics network,” adds Carl Snyder. “We have had zero downtime since our new VAN solution went live, which helps us to avoid costly delays in our delivery processes.”

Results story

Unlocking valuable cost-savings

Today, KeHE Distributors keeps its logistics network running cost-effectively, which in turn helps the company to protect its margins.

“In our industry, operating lean is crucial to combat downward pressure on margins,” says Carl Snyder. “We have not experienced any unplanned downtime, and this helps us ensure timely delivery of the vital EDI messages that keep our complex logistics network running smoothly and cost-effectively.”

By migrating to a highly available platform, KeHE Distributors predicts that it will cut its operational spend significantly.

Carl Snyder comments: “We have already realized impressive cost-savings, and we are confident that we will achieve further cost-efficiencies in the future. Without a doubt, our new VAN is making it much easier for my lean team to deliver EDI services to support a large enterprise.”

Building on the success of its migration, KeHE Distributors is considering the possibility of adopting cloud-based file transfer solutions to further streamline its approach to partner integration.

Carl Snyder concludes: “We couldn’t be happier with the support, service and outcome of our migration to the new VAN platform. We are keen to build on our success with additional cloud services, further improving our ability to deliver outstanding trading partner integration services to the business.”

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About KeHE Distributors

KeHE Distributors works with more than 3,500 manufacturers, importers and other product suppliers to deliver demand planning, inbound freight consolidation, delivery route optimization and retailer category review services. Headquartered in Naperville, Illinois, the company employs more than 4,000 people across the United States.
 

Solution components

  • Sterling B2B Collaboration Network

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