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Top 50 - 2008

31. Upper Lakes Foods, Inc.

Cloquet, MN
Year founded: 1967
President/ceo: Steven Sorensen
2 distribution centers
2,700 accounts
75% commercial, 25% noncommercial
12,500 SKUs
90% national brands
5% private label
5% group label
COP & specialty products: Fresh meat (beef, lamb, veal, poultry) fresh fish, fresh produce, gourmet cheese, E&S, san-jan, packaging
Best innovation: Installed XATA Systems for deliveries, RF for receiving and picking; acquired new fleet of trucks; upgraded software for trucks, routing, warehouse, sales and internal financial reports; scan pickers to be installed in winter of 2007.
Other news: Scanning, receiving and palletizing orders, adding new tractors and state of the art three compartment trailers, and updated e3 purchasing.
Fuel prices: Buying fuel contracts and consolidating routes.
High-tech operations systems: Using new warehouse bar coding and scan picking equipment.
Plans for human pandemic or other catastrophes: Yes.
Any "green" or environmentally-friendly projects: Recycling paper, cardboard, oil, cans and plastic.
Key issues this year: Will begin scanning orders for picking and considering driver scanning on delivery end. Dealing with healthcare and fuel costs, compensation, and installing warehouse software to improve productivity.