At Gillette Group, the nation's 10th-largest Pepsi Cola distributor, business is alternately bubbly and flat. That is good news however; the non-carbonated beverage business has been booming alongside traditional soda sales. But a slew of product introductions and organic business growth brought the Wisconsin-based private distributor success as well as challenges. Product SKUs have grown from 128 in 1995 to more than 500 today. Gillette Group owns thousands of soda machines, fountains and coolers and serves some 15,000 outlets through four distribution centers and a satellite business in Iowa. It adds up to a lot of product in a lot of places.
A decade ago, Gillette Group worked off weekly paper reports that often weren't worth the effort. " At the end of each week we had lots and lots of paper that we'd have to distribute," says Patti Gillette-Ostrom, IT director at Gillette Group, "and then it would sit on people's desks because it was too difficult to read."
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