A lot has changed when it comes to technology at Dot Foods since our founding in 1960. What started out as a very manual operation has turned into something much more automated and reliant on computers.
As the company continued to evolve in the late 90s, so did technology. But RT wasn’t too keen on the idea of using a computer to help run the business. After a lot of convincing done by his son, Pat Tracy, RT admitted that a computer could be a helpful resource and was not just a mysterious black box.
So, Dot installed its first minicomputer at Dot Foods Mt. Sterling in 1978, paying $34,000 for the hardware and $7,000 for the software.
In 1995, Dot became the first company in the country to offer three different temperature environments for less-than-truckload (LTL) deliveries. Without new and improved reefer technology, this development wouldn’t have been possible.
By 1997, the internet was booming. To keep up with the times, Dot launched the Dot Expressway—a website where customers could get product information with the click of a mouse. Today, the Dot Expressway is one of the most-visited e-commerce sites in the foodservice redistribution industry. Today, in 2020, our e-commerce teams are working hard to make the site even more user-friendly and mobile phone friendly.
Implementing warehouse automation technology is something Dot has been exploring for future distribution center (DC) expansions. While automation may seem like a big and daunting term, the reality is that we’ve been automating tasks for a while now. And, in 2019, Dot Foods CEO Joe Tracy officially announced the groundbreaking of a new automated layer pick system at Dot Foods Mt. Sterling.
But this is not the first form of automation to be implemented in our DCs. Some examples of existing automation at Dot include our Warehouse Management System, mini-load, paperless and directed work, yard management, Wi-Fi, and more.
As technology becomes more affordable and efficient, it is important that Dot implements it to supplement what we are doing today. This doesn’t mean we want to be replacing our people—our people are what make Dot so great. But technology is a fantastic supplemental tool to work in tandem with our people to keep our warehouses safe and efficient.