The Customer

Martin Bros. Distributing Company, Inc. is an independent, family-owned foodservice distributor based in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Started in 1940 by two brothers, the company emphasizes customer relationships defined by “legendary customer service.” Martin Bros. offers full-line food service distribution and services to more than 1,500 accounts throughout the Midwest. Martin Bros. collaborates with a diverse customer base serving restaurants, schools, senior living communities and more.

Martin Bros., current leadership, is a third-generation family-owned company. They employ six hundred people, and proudly operate as an employee-owned company.


The Challenge

Martin Bros. wanted to update its labor management standards and procedures to more accurately record and manage labor costs:


The Solution

ATD partnered with TZA to implement a full Labor Management Program including its ProTrack Labor Management System as well as supporting engineering and strategic consulting services. Additionally, ATD leveraged TZA’s 40 years of labor consulting and engineering experience to train their team of Industrial Engineers and create a comprehensive strategy allowing the ATD Engineering team to effectively continue the program’s roll out to the entire network. The program included TZA’s ProTrack Labor Management System providing labor planning, engineered standards calculation, incentive pay, accountability, coaching and business intelligence reporting as well as best practice standard operating procedures, multi-determinant engineered standards, and a defined performance management strategy.

Since the initial rollout, ATD and TZA have partnered to continuously improve the effectiveness of their labor management program with ProTrack being the foundation. Their goal is to get ProTrack into each of their 130 distribution/mixing centers ranging in headcount from as low as five to as high as one hundred, providing 100% visibility to performance and associated labor costs.


The Results

Martin Bros. selected TZA to evaluate its labor performance standards and provide recommendations for improvement. As a first step, TZA consultants reviewed all the processes at Martin Bros. and noted weaknesses in the system. For example, TZA discovered that employees were not following the current SOP and that Martin Bros. managers and associates were following different SOPs. TZA engineers pursued a step-by-step methodology and got agreement with Martin Bros. on new standardized SOPs

TZA consultants performed pre- and post-measurements and evaluated the receiving, selection and loading times for the company’s dried, refrigerated, and frozen categories, the core activities within the DC. Under the new SOPs, Martin Bros. realized a 1.5% reduction in cost-per-case distributed in the first 3 months. Next, TZA implemented the ProTrack Labor Management Software, a state-of-the-art labor management system that accurately calculates work duration, tracks associate time against standards and provides initiative-taking management tools resulting in real time visibility and enhanced management decision making. As a result, Martin Bros. achieved increased productivity and a lower cost-per-case distribution.

The management of Martin Bros. was also concerned about the impact these changes would have on its workforce and asked TZA to implement a process that enabled managers and supervisors to work with floor associates to achieve a smooth transition into the new labor standards and maintain continuous improvement objectives.

TZA consultants implemented a Professional Management Training program for managers and supervisors. TZA facilitated a series of courses, combining classroom and on-the-floor training sessions that helped transition the existing operation from its current state to a high performance culture.

“Our employees appreciate that what they do for the company on a daily basis is visible, making it easier for employees and management to work together to achieve mutual goals.

Ethan DeWall, Vice President, Operations

“We involved personnel at the beginning of the transition process, which made for a more seamless, immediate changeover to the new system. Floor personnel appreciate the new system because it’s more reflective of the work they actually do, while our management team likes being able to rely on it for information on performance and operations. Now that we have it, we definitely would not want to give it up!”

Ethan DeWall, Vice President, Operations

The TZA Labor Management Program, supported by ProTrack Labor Management Software, engineering services and professional management training, resulted in the following improvements