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Top 50 - 2008

9. Ben E. Keith

Fort Worth, Texas
Year founded: 1906
Chairman: Robert Hallam
President: Mike Roach
Website: www.benekeithfoods.com
6 distribution centers
20,000 accounts
90% commercial, 10% noncommercial
36,500 SKUs
80% national brands
15% private label
5% group label
60% street accounts sales ($852 average order side)
40% multiunit accounts ($3,956 average order size and 2% from fast food)
COP & specialty products: Fresh meat (beef, lamb, veal, poultry) fresh fish, fresh produce, gourmet cheese, E&S, san-jan, packaging
Best innovation: Introduced proof of delivery and DSR assessment.
Other news: Completed construction of Amarillo warehouse and began POS paperless food shows.
Fuel prices: Combination of passing increase to operators; more efficient equipment, reducing idling time; route consolidation; improving customer partnerships; and third-party fuel management company's services for purchases.
High-tech operations systems: Using iTrade Network for electronic purchase orders and contract/rebate management; paperless order delivery; on-board computers; and bar coding.
Plans for human pandemic or other catastrophes: In progress.
Any "green" or environmentally-friendly projects: Involved in local projects.
Key issues this year: Dealing with shrinking margins, item proliferation and associated sales training, increased transportation costs, shortage of drivers, and food safety and security issues.