A 40-year industry veteran, Pittman joined Ben E. Keith in 1970. He cility re-sets, a capacity study and the design and construction of two new
has held various positions in sales, purchasing and operations, and was facilities, among other endeavors.
general manager at two of the company’s DCs. He has served as a co- Most food distributors don’t develop their own WMS, Kohl points out,
chair for the International Foodservice Distributor Association’s annual but Ben E. Keith has a strong IT department and has the bench strength
conference and also participates on a number of IFDA committees. to maintain the system. “Most foodservice distributors just don’t have the
For its dedication to the industry and exemplary leadership, Ben E. in-house capability to keep it up,” says Kohl.
Keith has received Food Logistics’ Golden Pallet award in the foodservice Ben E. Keith designed KWCS as an open system, so it has interfaces
distributor category. The Golden Pallets, sponsored by Food Logistics, are with a variety of other solutions, such as routing, slotting, voice picking,
the ﬁrst food industry awards to recognize excellence in warehousing. yard management and business intelligence.
Beyond the warehouse, the distributor has automated other areas, in-
Expanding With Technology cluding its delivery process. The company has installed onboard systems
Ben E. Keith services some 22,000 customers in Texas, Oklahoma, on all of its trucks, so drivers can scan labels and capture proof of delivery
New Mexico, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Ten- at the restaurant.
nessee and Missouri. Customers include white tablecloth and casual
dining restaurants, hotels, schools, healthcare and other institutional Pioneering Spirit Continues
foodservice facilities. The distributor offers more than 20,000 products, Success starts with the associates, and Ben E. Keith makes sure that it
including national brands as well as its own private brands, in all broad line hires the best. The company has implemented a pre-employment screen-
distribution categories. ing program to ﬁnd the right candidate for any open position. And the
In addition to the DFW facility, it operates ﬁve broadline distribution company does everything it can to retain its talent.
centers in Amarillo and San Antonio, TX; Little Rock, AR; Oklahoma City, “We’ve instituted an employee recognition program that has boosted
OK; and Albuquerque, NM. It also runs a systems distribution center in morale tremendously,” says Pittman. “Every month, each of our six distri-
Little Rock. bution centers recognizes four associates who are exceeding at their job.
At almost 600,000 square feet, the DFW is the distributor’s largest fa- All warehouse associates and drivers on all shifts are eligible. The associ-
cility. It was built to consolidate three other distribution centers that the ates have a chance to become the employee of the year at their respective
company had outgrown, according to Pittman. Ben E. Keith worked with distribution centers, as well as for the company.”
Montreal-based Kom International to design the state-of-the-art facility, Ben E. Keith also has an annual truck rodeo and drivers at all of its
which services more than 6,000 accounts and warehouses 23,000 SKUs. distribution centers can compete for the company championship. That
The DFW is conventional in terms of the types of equipment installed, winner gets to go to the IFDA Tr