Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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88 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES AUGUST 2019 PARTING SHOT The more we innovate, the better we get. To drive positive change in the foodservice industry, we at Parts Town remain on the lookout for our next major innovation. It's part of our culture, which strives to inspire team members to bring their ideas forward, while also listening to custom- ers and manufacturers. We then prioritize and relentlessly pursue the most compel- ling innovations. Often, but not always, these innovations are technology-related. Technology can be customer-facing, includ- ing unique web features. Alternatively, technological developments can be internal to drive safety, quality, customer experience or productivity gains. One type of innovation that's top of mind in today's foodservice industry is automation, namely robotics. It's a subject that hits close to home for us because our automated distribution system is powered by more than 35 robots. When we discuss this system with customers and partners alike, inevitably someone will ask how our team feels about the technology. The unspoken question is more along the lines of "how do your team members feel about being replaced by robots?" Well, our automated distribution system is certainly much more productive than the historical way of picking — in fact, it's almost four times more productive. Yet, we actually created more than 100 new jobs in the ˆrst year following the introduction of this automation. Why? Innovation drives growth and growth creates jobs and opportunity. Prior to implementing the system, we struggled to onboard enough team members fast enough to keep up with customer demand. This innovation allows us to continue to scale to meet demand, further stimulate our growth and give our team the chance to develop new skills. Instead of walking 10 to 11 miles per day in our distribution center to pick product, we now have team mem- bers working with leading-edge robotic technology. It's fast paced, new and fun. As technology improves and we con- tinue to become more productive, our team members get to learn new things and work in more innovative ways. It's actually very fulˆlling and exciting for our individual team members. Here's the deal. The more we innovate, the better we get. The better we get, the better we deliver what our manufacturer partners and customers want, which creates growth — and growth stimulates opportu- nity. We've done this several times before through the launch of our website, our app and several other unique technology fea- tures. Each of these innovations accelerated our growth and created new jobs. In 15 years, we have gone from a team of 5 to a team of more than 1,700. How? Innovation and pushing the limits of what is possible stimulates growth and growth creates opportunity — both new jobs and cool enhancements to existing roles. So, when someone asks me if I worry about how team members will react to our innovations, I tell them, "No, I worry about what will happen to our team members if we ever stop innovating and growing." Innovation Creates Opportunity | By Steve Snower | CEO Parts Town Addison, Ill. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of FE&S.

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