Its television commercials have featured a mouth-watering array of baked goods and the familiar line: “Pepperidge Farm remembers.”
The ads hark back to a time when homemade bread came hot from the oven right to the table in a less complicated era. This sentiment, backed by quality products, has helped Pepperidge Farm grow to more than $1 billion in annual sales.
These days Pepperidge Farm is remembering something new – its decision to choose Intermec Implementation Services to help implement new Intermec handheld mobile computers and printers in its 78 bakery distribution depots, replacing 15-year-old mobile computing equipment. The plan called for roll-out of the new system to begin in fall 2003 and to be complete by the following February.
Pepperidge Farm’s bakery depots are scattered throughout the U.S., from the East Coast to Texas, and posed some particular challenges for the roll out. To ensure the project’s success, Pepperidge Farm selected Intermec equipment and five of its implementation services offerings: Installation, Project Management, Logistics Control Center, Education, and wireless Site Survey. That business decision resulted in an entirely new set of good memories for Pepperidge Farm.
Pepperidge Farm’s first pilot installation began in the Bronx, New York, late on a Sunday night in October, 2003. At 10 p.m., the depot manager was just arriving to begin his shift. An Intermec technician had already been there a few hours, installing the Intermec mobile computers and printers for the new delivery system. He was joined by Andy Henn, Pepperidge Farm’s manager of supply chain systems and the company’s project manager for the system rollout. Tim Miller, Pepperidge Farm’s manager of bakery sales operation and business lead for the rollout, was there as well.
“Intermec put an installation team together of 12 to 14 people. For the first pilot site, several of the team members were there,” Henn said. In addition, seven Pepperidge Farm team members, including the developers who wrote the custom system application, were on site to monitor the initial pilot.
For the final two pilot installation sites, Henn and Miller took a hands-off approach and waited until 6 a.m. Monday to follow up with the depot manager. At the final site, to their surprise, the Intermec installer was still there. Seeing an Intermec face at sunrise, when the depot was supposed to be operational, was not a welcome sight. The Pepperidge Farm project managers could only imagine the worst.
“When Tim and I arrived at 6 a.m. and saw the Intermec installer still there, I thought, ‘He’s not supposed to be here.’” Henn said. As it turned out, the Intermec technician was proactively documenting methods for preventing issues that had surfaced during the pilot from occurring at other sites.
Both Henn and Miller appreciated the installer’s dedication to the task. “He was there to solve problems, and he really took an interest in making sure that what happened that night didn’t happen again,” Miller said.
It worked. Throughout the 78 system installations completed during five months of Sunday overnights, the one pilot site was the only instance in which an Intermec installer went over schedule.
Each installation provided lessons that could be applied to the installations that followed. As part of its project management services, Intermec compiled and distributed documentation after every implementation that would become a textbook, of sorts, for how to do it better.
“After a weekend of installations, (Intermec Senior Project Manager) Ken Taylor would send me a report on the problems we had. If we needed to incorporate changes in our processes, we were locked and loaded for the next week,” Henn said.
By December, Intermec was completing eight or more installations every Sunday night. Despite the ferocious winter storms that pounded the East during the last three months of the rollout, Intermec installers braved icy roads and blowing snowdrifts to arrive at installation sites on schedule.
Most rollouts live or die by the amount of work done in the months before an installation, and Pepperidge Farm’s Henn understood this from the beginning.
“Intermec came through, put their schedule and their plan together and it worked. They did as much prep work as possible so the process went smoothly. That’s really what it’s all about – the more planning you do up front, the easier it is to get through,” he said.
“They were very receptive to our suggestions for long-term and ‘on the fly’ improvements in the rollout process. It was clear they trusted us and were leaving it up to us to deliver on our promises. I’m confident we did. A good project plan, cooperation of team members and a well-managed execution of the plan always breeds success,” Taylor said.
Henn was happy to turn over much of the preparation to Intermec’s Logistics Control Center (LCC). The LCC labeled, configured, updated, tested, staged and shipped the equipment to all the installation sites.
For the Pepperidge Farm rollout, this involved loading the company’s custom application onto 109 mobile computers and ensuring the units arrived at each bakery depot a week ahead of the installation date, ready to use. “To have Intermec handle all the logistics for the equipment and not have to worry about it was a huge advantage for me,” Henn said. User manuals and other documentation needed to arrive in advance as well. But first someone had to create them.
“For anybody who’s gone through a project like this, documentation is always a challenge to get done,” Henn said. “Nobody ever wants to do it, but it’s important. Documentation was one of the services Intermec provided. They took our application, took all the screens, went field by field and worked with our technical development group to put together a user manual as well as a quick reference card. They drew it up the way we wanted it.”
Intermec installation services also included an hour’s worth of training, more if a depot manager felt he needed it. However, with the comprehensiveness of the Intermec documentation materials and the training skills of the Intermec installers, only two managers out of 86 required extra training.
Pepperidge Farm elected to have Intermec perform wireless network site surveys for eight bakery depots that have more than one depot manager and, consequently, more than one mobile computer. Because each of the Intermec mobile computers has a wireless card, Pepperidge Farm can easily convert the additional depots to a wireless system in the future.
What Henn took away from the system rollout experience was simple: He wanted everything to work, and it did. “All of the depot managers said the Intermec people were professional, they knew their equipment and they were helpful. That’s what you want.”
In the 67 years since Pepperidge Farm first began offering wholesome, fresh products for sale, customers have wanted the same things: quality and value. The people of Intermec who provide implementation services for companies such as Pepperidge Farm know that quality and value require a steadfast determination to not only see a job through, but see it done right. The result of such expertise and dedication leaves an impression that lasts. You might even say it’s something to remember.