In addition to being one of the world’s leading producers and distributors of bananas, Chiquita is a leading international marketer and distributor of many other fresh and processed food products. They offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, juices, beverages, packaged foods, salads, and fruit ingredients. Their bananas and other fresh produce are grown primarily in Central and South America. Chiquita-branded products are found in grocery stores in more than 60 countries, making Chiquita one of the world’s most recognized brands.
Their company’s commercial operation is a backhaul business developed to increase asset utilization for more than 9,000 Chiquita-owned containers, which need to get back to the port after the delivery of bananas to the customer. Chiquita’s Fresh Select business, distributing non-banana fresh produce such as melons and pineapples, moves in mostly LTL shipments.
In 2005, Chiquita acquired Fresh Express, the number one seller of packaged salads in the United States, with 40% retail market share and approximately $1 billion in revenues. Fresh Express is dedicated to providing healthy, convenient, and ready-to-eat spinach, salads, and vegetables. Fresh Express has brought fresh and nutritious salads to America’s tables for over 80 years. Fresh Express was the creator of the retail packaged salad category and the first to make ready-to-eat salads available to consumers nationwide. The combined transportation network is referred to as Chiquita Express.
Business Process and Problem Definition
Initially, Chiquita needed to consolidate three disparate legacy systems into centralized transportation command and control. Sourcing both strategically and for specific lanes was time-consuming and didn’t leverage the large annual transportation spend. They also wanted to maximize the use of the Chiquita-owned containers. With the acquisition of Fresh Express, Chiquita faced a series of issues relative to their TMS implementation. First, Fresh Express had a legacy-installed TMS package. Chiquita and Fresh Express needed to be converted to LeanTMS. At the same time, Chiquita decided to re-implement the entire company under one corporate structure. (Three corporate divisions had been implemented separately and as different companies with LeanTMS.)