Ashley Furniture Leverages Deep Visibility to Unlock Savings

Client Profile

Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. is the largest manufacturer and retailer of furniture in the world. Established in 1945, Ashley offers one of the industry’s broadest product assortments to retail partners and consumers throughout the world. From design through residential fulfillment, Ashley continuously strives to provide their customers with the best value, selection and service in the furniture industry. Headquartered in Arcadia, WI, the company employs over 20,000 associates globally.

Business Process and Problem Definition

Retail buying patterns are changing. Consumers with very high expectations are using numerous methods to shop, order and procure everyday items. Ashley Furniture felt those changes and realized it needed to react to the marketplace. This included paying close attention to what the company needed to manufacture – and where it needed to be distributed from to be cost effective – while hitting its customer service objectives.

Ashley Furniture realized that with thousands of time-critical loads per month, the potential for missed deliveries could directly impact the customer experience. Like many manufacturers,
Ashley Furniture does not manufacture all items in the same area or region, so balancing inventory within regions is critical. Near real-time identification and prioritization of product transfers across Ashley’s network is paramount to servicing customers in a given region.

The company also maintains its own fleet operations and divides its freight spend between the fleet and common carriers. In a capacity-constrained marketplace, Ashley Furniture’s fleet was identified as a competitive differentiator to be leveraged – both for ensuring consistent customer deliveries as well as picking up numerous third party backhauls. The company handled all payment terms via manual processes and recognized the liability of limited auditing capabilities.

Ashley Furniture established a list of goals for a new transportation management system:

  • Track and trace for all aspects of freight moves (inbound, outbound and transfers)
  • Visibility for all supply chain partners (vendors, procurement, manufacturing, customers)
  • Automate transportation-related processes based on best-practices
  • Leverage innovative technology on a single-instance platform requiring little IT support
  • Deploy a scalable solution to handle multiple aspects of transportation in a high-volume environment


Process Improvement – SaaS Solution

Ashley Furniture chose LeanLogistics LeanTMS® to provide visibility to all aspects of their transportation network, allowing the company to increase efficiencies and reduce cost. The true SaaS model utilized by LeanTMS provides visibility to inbound raw material loads through the supplier inbound management module (SIM), helping Ashley Furniture ensure that they pick up the right product on the right trailer, at the right time. As Ashley Furniture continues to respond to an ever changing marketplace, the company can keep pace and sequence with their “just in time” manufacturing with real-time input from their vendor network. This provides savings across the board in terms of both freight costs and production efficiencies.

In leveraging LeanTMS, Ashley Furniture utilizes functionality as dispatch consoles, pool points (relays), real-time carrier connectivity and business intelligence reporting to better react to changing market dynamics and customer needs. Through automated carrier payment via WebSettle®, fully audited processes require fewer touches. Additionally, built-in management tools are used identify and execute third party moves on the fleet – reducing empty miles and creating new commercial opportunities. This drives ROI and positions Ashley’s supply chain as a key differentiator in the marketplace they serve.

“We have full visibility to the P&L associated with every freight move that we do. From an ROI perspective, it’s really helped us move the needle,” said the VP of Supply Chain Systems at Ashley Furniture.

Additional benefits of LeanTMS to Ashley Furniture include:

  • Prioritization and mode selection of transfer loads
  • Data-driven decisions for routing guides
  • Real-time track and trace of shipments
  • Carrier and vendor compliance reporting

Value Delivered

With a complex production and distribution network, Ashley Furniture faced many of the same challenges other manufacturers face today. As pressure continues to increase from end consumers and customers, shippers need to have a clear lens into their business – and visibility into the challenges within their supply chains. Technology plays a critical role for today’s supply chains. Best-in-class shippers understand that true cost savings come from the deep visibility unlocked through supply chain technologies.

With LeanTMS®, Ashley Furniture has complete control of their transportation planning, execution, visibility and finances. The company can control their transportation strategy from a centralized model, with all business partners utilizing a common platform. Ashley Furniture can manage their fleet operations, report on key metrics, and address financial discrepancies all within one solution – LeanTMS. The company now can make data-driven decisions, reducing costs, and build a better supply chain.

The benefits Ashley Furniture continues to receive from LeanLogistics include:

  • Expertise: LeanLogistics’ knowledge of manufacturing supply chains (and the dynamic marketplace they serve) helps Ashley Furniture continue to improve the use of their solution.
  • Assurance: LeanTMS gives Ashley Furniture deep visibility into their supply chain, allowing the company to reduce waste, contain costs and realize a quick ROI.
  • Innovative Technology: Ashley Furniture is able to access a single solution to help make data-driven decisions for their manufacturing, distribution and transportation operations.
  • Scalability: LeanTMS offers an agile solution enabling business growth and adjusting to fit the company’s needs

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