For 140 years, descendents of Giustino Orlando have been producing breads, rolls and other baked goods—first in southern Italy and then in Cleveland, when sons Vincenzo and Guiseppe emigrated to America in 1904 and opened The Orlando Brothers Bakery.

Through the years, the company grew and moved to larger facilities while it began offering delivery service (first by horse and buggy and then by truck), underwent minor name changes as younger family members took charge, introduced new products (it was the first U.S. bakery to produce ciabatta) and, most recently, added state-of-the-art baking equipment and new technology to its 200,000-sq.-ft. bakery on Cleveland’s Grand Avenue.

The new baking equipment enables today’s Orlando Baking Co. to do what it does best—produce fresh and frozen baked goods daily for its customers—more efficiently and cost-effectively. But the company knew that updating its bakery equipment was just part of what it needed to do to keep up with customer demand and control operating costs. Improving its distribution system would be necessary, too, given the company’s distribution range and customer base.

Getting a handle on routes, deliveries

“We distribute [fresh product] regionally: Ohio throughout the Midwest,” says John Anthony Orlando, vice president of operations for Orlando Baking Co. “We have 60 local routes and we use outside distributors in outlying areas. We ship frozen nationally. Seventy percent of our business is foodservice—more restaurants and institutions. The other 30% is retail.”

To better manage its local routes and fresh deliveries, which it makes five days a week, Orlando Baking installed dispoTool Warehouse Management, a paperless dispatching system from ToolBox Software North America Inc., St. Paul, Minn., in
its warehouse.

“Visiting the bakery shows, we came across ToolBox and another company,” Orlando explains. “We analyzed both of them, and it seemed that ToolBox was the better solution for us.”

All products coming off of Orlando Baking’s packaging lines are immediately recorded in the dispoTool when they enter the warehouse. Each stack of product is ticketed by dispoTool, with vital information such as the production day, the selling date and so on. dispoTool then assigns the items to different picking areas within the warehouse or to the main inventory. Items are then moved to a designated holding location until they’re used for final order picking.

Picking operators in the different zones call up their orders and inventory. Multicolored digital displays mounted above the warehouse’s numbered doors clearly show the required quantity of a selected item for each route, enabling employees to easily fulfill orders without the use of paper lists. Each employee uses a specific color on the display.

“Each route has, for example, so many loaves of Italian bread on order,” explains Orlando. “With dispoTool, we have the total number of Italian bread that we produced, and it automatically allocates what each route needs according to order. The displays light up and we pass out product for each truck. It’s made [order fulfillment] more efficient and accurate and with fewer mistakes.”

The process is a significant improvement over Orlando Baking’s former paper-based distribution system, which Orlando describes as “very cumbersome. It took a lot of time and a lot of paper,” he says. “I’ve done it myself. You walk around with a pencil in your mouth, trying to carry trays of product. With ToolBox, we now push the bread, look at the lights, grab the trays, put them on the truck, and we’re done.”

In addition to enabling Orlando Baking to fill its local and fresh-delivery orders quicker and more efficiently, dispoTool Warehouse Management helps the company better control its inventory and reduce waste, both of which also save it money.

Orlando offers an example: “Say you have 100 loaves of bread to pass out. When you get to the last route, [dispoTool] says you should have five loaves left, and that’s what you have. All you do is look at the display lights to see how many loaves of bread each route gets and you hardly make any mistakes.”

Another benefit realized by Orlando Baking since installing dispoTool is reduced labor costs. “I figure I reduced our labor by 30 percent,” says Orlando. “Overtime’s come down, and we continue to keep improving on it with this system. We’ve been very satisfied with [dispoTool], and it’s been a great benefit to our company.”

For more information about ToolBox and its dispoTool bakery solution, visit  SF&WB