A new distribution center in a Seattle suburb gives 7-Eleven the ability to make daily deliveries of freshly prepared foods to 267 of its convenience stores in the area. In addition to other products, the distribution center will deliver fresh pastries, gourmet sandwiches, entrees and other ready-to-eat foods produced at a bakery and commissary in Vancouver.
Mirroring similar setups in other areas of the United States, store orders placed by 10:00 a.m. over the company's proprietary retail information system are forwarded to suppliers by 11:00 a.m. Those orders are then delivered to the new facility—which is operated by Cardinal Logistics Management, Inc. (Concord, N.C.)—where they are sorted by store into totes and loaded onto 22 dualtemperature trucks for delivery before 5:00 a.m. the next day. Daily deliveries will allow the company to add other specialty items to its selection, including fruit, fruit salads, and fresh-squeezed juices. It will also improve the freshness of convenience-store staples—milk, eggs, and bread—which had been delivered twice per week.
Another benefit: more local food that appeals to local tastes. The need to make daily deliveries to hundreds of stores prohibited many local food companies from being able to sell their products within 7-Eleven. These companies and other suppliers that currently deliver product to each store will now be able to make one delivery to the central DC.
The new delivery schedule will also improve traffic flow by cutting the number of truck deliveries each day. All of which, according to a 7-Eleven spokesperson, further differentiate the company's convenience stores from competitors.