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A recent article from Fortune Magazine looks at how foodservice distributor Sysco uses technology to manage its shipments internally and externally - schools, stadiums, assisted-living facilities, and more - if the venue serves food, chances are Sysco supplies it.

The distributor ships 21.5 million tons of produce, meats, prepared meals and other food-related products each year, per the article. It uses software, databases, scanning systems and robotics to do it efficiently.
 
As the article says:
"Sysco's supply-chain logistics are especially complex because a single jar of caviar can't be handled the same way as a box of frozen onion rings or an 80-pound tub of flour. That rules out most off-the-shelf inventory-management software. ...
Sysco Corp., Houston, TX, reported sales for the third quarter ended March 28, 2009, were $8.7 billion, down 4.5% from the prior year period. Profit decreased 6.1% to $226 million.
 
Fiscal year-to-date sales were flat compared to the first nine months of fiscal year 2008. Profit for the first three quarters fell 4.1%.
 
"Our third quarter results reflect the increasingly difficult market environment that has developed as our fiscal year has progressed. Nevertheless, we are encouraged by our operating companies' ongoing ability to provide excellent customer service while managing costs effectively," CEO Bill DeLaney ...
Sysco Corp., Houston, TX, has acquired Irish food distributor Pallas Foods Limited. The acquisition expands Sysco's international presence.
 
Pallas Foods has annual revenues of approximately $200 million and employs about 500 associates. Pallas operates its broadline distribution business from its Newcastle West facility supplemented by eight operating depots throughout Ireland.
 
Sysco sells, markets and distributes food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. The company operates 180 distribution facilities serving more than 400,000 customers. For the fiscal year 2008 that ended June 28, 2008, the company generated more than $37 billion in sales. ...
Sysco Corp., Houston, TX, reported sales of $9.1 billion for its second quarter ended Dec. 27, 2008, a decrease of 1% from the prior year. Profit was $237.7 million, down 10%.
 
For the first half of fiscal year 2009, sales increased 2% to $19 billion. Profit declined 3.1% to $514.5 million.
 
"The business environment remains difficult in the short term, as demonstrated by our decline in sales last quarter," CEO Richard J. Schnieders said. "However, we remain focused on execution and operational excellence, which we believe will strengthen our position within the industry over the long term."
 
Food cost inflation, as estimated by the change in Sysco's cost of goods, was 7% for the quarter.
 
Sysco sells, markets and ...
Houston, TX-based Sysco Corp. reported sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 ended Sept. 27, 2008, were up 5% to $9.9 billion from the first quarter 2008. Profit was $276 million, up from $266 million in the first quarter 2008.
 
Our operating companies continued to generate impressive results in the midst of a prolonged and difficult business environment," said Richard J. Schnieders, Sysco's CEO.
 
Food cost inflation, as estimated by the change in Sysco's cost of goods, was 8.3% for the quarter.
 
Sysco operates 180 distribution facilities serving more than 400,000 customers. For the fiscal year 2008 that ended June 28, 2008, the company had more than $37 billion in ...
SYSCO Corp., Houston, TX, reported sales increased 7.1% in fiscal 2008 to $37.5 billion. Food cost inflation, as estimated by the change in cost in goods, was 6%.
 
Operating income for 2008 grew 10% over the prior year.
 
For the fourth quarter 2008, sales were up 5.4% to $9.7 billion. Operating income was up 9.7% to $559 million. Fourth-quarter profit was up to $334 million from $303 million in the prior-year period. Food cost inflation for the period was 6.2%.

More details ...
SYSCO Corp., Houston, TX, reported sales in its first quarter ended Sept. 29, 2007, grew 8.5% to $9.4 billion from the same period last year. Sales from acquisitions in the past 12 months contributed 0.2% to the sales growth.
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Food cost inflation, as estimated by the change in SYSCO's cost of goods, was 5.9% for the quarter.
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Profit was $267 million, up from $230 million in the same period a year ago, an increase of 16%.
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SYSCO reported that it saw unusually high food cost inflation" for the second consecutive quarter. (See 3Q Inflation Trends by Commodity Group) These conditions contributed to a 21 basis point reduction in gross margins and a 51 basis point decrease in operating ...
SYSCO Corporation, Houston, TX, reported sales increased 8.5% to $9.23 billion in the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2007. Sales for fiscal 2007 increased 7.4% to $35.04 billion.
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Profit was $303.4 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $254.1 million in the prior-year period. In fiscal 2007, profit was $1 billion, compared with $855.3 million in the prior fiscal year, an increase of 17%.

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SYSCO Corporation, Houston, TX, foodservice marketer and distributor, announced its subsidiary for personal care amenities and other hotel operating supplies, Guest Supply, LLC, has acquired Austin Tatum, a personal care amenity company headquartered in Hong Kong.

The acquisition of Austin Tatum represents an important step for Guest Supply's and SYSCO's expansion into the international market," said Richard J. Schnieders, SYSCO's chairman and CEO. "With a local presence and infrastructure in place, Guest Supply will now be in a position to better service the Asian properties of its U.S.-based clients as well as increase its Asian client base and the number of product categories it sells in Asia."
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SYSCO distributes food products to restaurants, healthcare and ...