Managing acres of reefer freight

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Updated Dec 14, 2009

What company supplies food to a third of all U.S. restaurants, cafeterias, and sports stadiums? If you pull a reefer, chances are you well know that it’s Houston-based Sysco, which each year ships 21.5 million tons of produce, meats and other food-related products.

Fortune magazine has an detailed look at the “complex web of software, databases, scanning systems, and robotics” that enables one of the company’s distribution centers to turn over 11,000 items every 17 days.

There’s a bit about trucking, too, such as this:

“Sysco has also saved money by revamping its truck routes. That became imperative last year when fuel prices skyrocketed. It uses Roadnet, a software program developed by UPS, to determine the most efficient routes for its trucks. In the past nine months, the company says, diesel usage is down almost 8% from a year earlier.”

— Max Heine