AEP Industries is a large manufacturer of plastic packaging, films and one of the largest US manufacturers of stretch film. The company produces over 15,000 types of multi-purpose packaging and other films for a variety of industries, including deli meat bags, cereal bags, consumer trash bags and stretch wrap for industrial use. AEP is growing by doubling in size every four years for the last fifteen years through acquisition and new market opportunities.
From a transportation perspective, AEP has a centralized logistics management approach with 12 distribution centers that ship approximately 1.1 billion pounds of freight annually while managing millions pounds of vendor pickup and return-related inbound shipments. AEP has 2,500 employees, and 250 of those are in the logistics, warehousing and transportation division.
Business Process and Problem Definition
With growth through mergers, acquisitions and global expansion, transportation became increasingly complex for AEP. The company added multiple new product lines servicing both regional and long-distance markets in North America. The tremendous growth for AEP created challenges with logistics processes, which provided disconnects and missed opportunities. AEP had outgrown the returns process; service to internal and external customers was suffering, transportation costs were escalating, and increased visibility into freight movements was defined as a major opportunity.
AEP created a list of goals for a new transportation system:
- Bring transportation management in-house
- Utilize a SaaS platform
- Increase visibility with customers
- Improve collaboration with carriers
- Improve operational efficiency and savings
- Enable new modes of transportation