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Martin Brower

Dickson County Facility Helps Fuel a Sustainable Supply Chain for Quick-service Restaurants


More than a half century ago, Martin Brower built a business around providing everything a quick-service restaurant would need in a single delivery.


Since 1956, the company has served as an exclusive distributor of everything from food to packaging, cleaning supplies to produce for the McDonald's system. Today, they provide every product imaginable to 95 percent of the state of Tennessee's McDonald's restaurants, and to others in six surrounding states--more than 470 locations altogether.


"It's part of what's called 'Total Concept' distribution, which means everything comes through one central facility, and we handle the logistics of processing the orders from individual franchisees and making sure the product arrives on schedule," says Wendy Egli, Martin Brower's general manager. "We ship an estimated 16 million cases annually--1.5 million cases of French fries alone each year... that's more than 54 million pounds of fries!"


Wendy Egli
Martin Brower General Manager Wendy Egli

Located in the Dickson County Industrial Park, the distribution facility includes 75,000 square feet of operating space, including freezers, coolers and dry storage to accept every conceivable product by truck or rail.


"If you think about a Big Mac Extra Value Meal, we're delivering every component," Egli says. "From the ground beef to the bun, the produce, condiments, fries, packaging, the soft drink, cup, straw and napkins."


Egli says the product in her warehouse comes from all over the country, but that they've optimized the logistics to ensure that supply routes are as cost-effective and environmentally conscious as possible.


Individual restaurants place orders for product twice each week, on average, and then Martin Brower contacts its suppliers to ensure that everything arrives at the distribution center to be bundled and delivered to the restaurants on schedule. It seems pretty straightforward, but Egli says it's a finely tuned process that's evolved over the years, utilizing technology and best practices developed in partnership with its suppliers.


In 2009, Martin Brower was recognized as McDonald's Supplier of the Year, a significant honor considering all of the companies involved in keeping nearly 13,000 restaurants in the U.S. well stocked on a daily basis.


"It was a tremendous accomplishment for Martin Brower U.S. to be recognized," Egli says. "Locally, our distribution center consistently delivers strong results for our customers, due to our dedicated employees. We're very thankful to be in Dickson County, and to have grown in a stable way over the years."


Today, the Tennessee distribution center employs about 240 people on a full-time basis, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Turnover is less than 10 percent annually, thanks to a focus on teamwork and success that are at the core of the company's culture. For two years in a row, they've been recognized for high customer satisfaction and employee engagement levels across the entire McDonald's distribution system.


Martin Brower also earned ISO: 14001 certification, an international stamp of approval that recognizes companies working to reduce their carbon footprints through things like fuel utilization, eliminating truck idling time, increasing recycling and using a continuous improvement process.


"We measure everything so we can evaluate how successful we are, and that includes tracking our success in reducing our energy consumption, increasing our recycling and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. We have standardized practices so that once we have identified a better way, or a "greener" way, of doing things, its simple to enact the change," Egli says.


The opening of State Route 840 will allow the company to be more efficient and reduce its fuel consumption.


"For all routes going south and southeast, we estimate saving 30-40 miles on the round trip," she says. "On 50-60 routes a day, if a third of my routes are going those directions, it's a significant positive. When you consider also the effect on inbound freight (coming to us), it's going to have a big impact."


And while Martin Brower includes facilities in other states, the Dickson facility was chosen to lead the centralized customer service call center and restaurant order planning for all of the company's distribution centers in the U.S.


"Now, our facility handles all electronic processing for all of our US Martin Brower distribution centers. We assisted in the development of forecasting software based on sophisticated trends, down to the restaurant level, for 7,000+ locations," Egli says.


"We've got a lot on the table, yet with the great employees, community and location of the center, we believe we'll exceed our goals and continue to help our customers grow. "


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