According to Dominic Stamaglia, if you can’t take care of the customer, someone else will. Find out how his company, Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co., Villa Park, Ill., continues to grow, all while striving for continuous quality improvement.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Summarize Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co.’s approach to supply chain and logistics?
Dominic Stramaglia: On the supply chain side, our suppliers undergo a thorough vesting process, assuring that we are working with only the leaders in their respective category. Service and quality is our main goal here. Logistically, we work in two specific arenas—an extremely localized approach with our own respective fleet of trucks as well as contracting with a broad range of trucking companies to cover our LTL deliveries. A solid hand on both aspects helps us to cover the costs as well as look for additional opportunities to save our customers money on not just the physical product side but also the logistical side.
R&FF: How are Supreme Lobster & Seafood’s supply chain functions organized, i.e., retail, foodservice, local sourcing, etc.?
Stramaglia: At Supreme Lobster & Seafood, we deal with one key category—seafood—separated into three procurement groups—fresh, frozen and international. We have respective experts in foodservice and retail trades embedded departmentally to assure success and customer-centric focus.
All respective suppliers go through a stringent process of plant audits and HACCP planning assessments before they enter into our dedicated family of suppliers. It’s a lengthy process, but we have a great team made of the industry’s leaders working with us. Sourcing product from all over the globe and located in the Midwest, it’s a difficult task to incorporate a local sourcing regime to a majority of our products. Some outliers exist though with respect to freshwater lake fish, rainbow trout and smoked fish, which we source directly from the Great Lakes Basin.
R&FF: How has your company’s supply chain evolved over the years?
Stramaglia: Starting with one truck making a couple deliveries to local restaurants daily, Supreme Lobster now operates well over 150 delivery trucks supplying thousands of accounts every day in the Midwest and Las Vegas markets. Augmented by our contracted carriers, we now offer national distribution to several main hubs in the United States, servicing our brands’ expansion to both local as well as the national market. The goals here are to never stop growing while striving for the best opportunities for savings and quality improvement. By using only the best suppliers both nationally and internationally, we know that we can have faith every step of the way.
R&FF: What are some of your customers’ biggest supply chain concerns? And, what is Supreme Lobster & Seafood doing to address these challenges?
Stramaglia: In the seafood industry, time and availability of pertinent information is the absolute essence to our survival and existence. Our customers are becoming increasingly educated in seafood and are highly interested in the providence of their seafood. Increased information and transparency has really paid dividends for us with our customer base. By actively providing a conduit for them in this regard, our customers concerns have been eased, allowing us to make more effective sales. I am a full believer if you give any customer great quality and service, they will be happy no matter what. We became who we are today through hard work, constant quality control and to positively make sure we have the best customer service in our industry. I always say, “If we can’t take care of the customer; someone else will!”
R&FF:What are some key warehousing/transportation initiatives for 2014?
Stramaglia: We are currently looking at a barcoding receiving system, offering us the ability to track each individual fillet through our system. While this is really neat for the food safety and inherent cost savings aspects in regards to spoilage and shrink factors, what is truly game changing is that we are working to be able to also tie it directly to the fisherman, who in most cases can track it down to the physical location and time caught. This offers our customers a real time and definitive approach to seafood as well as a solid link to the resource.