The Inbound Side of the Supply Chain Equation: Retailers and Grocers Turn to LeanTMS
When companies take control of inbound, they have the opportunity — and responsibility — for cost savings. But many organizations today still need the proper tools to achieve savings.
A great example of leveraging technology to gain a competitive advantage is one the nation’s leading family-owned general merchandise and grocery retailers. They operate more than 150 retail facilities throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. This well-respected chain utilizes a combination of private fleet, common carriers and dedicated carriers to move millions of dollars of product every day.
Business Process and Problem Definition
Carrier management was very labor-intensive. All load tender communication was via phone or fax, as were quoted rates, accessorial requests and load changes. Multiple systems were used to manage carrier rates and routing guides, all with minimal ability to track carrier performance. Optimization was inefficient and time-consuming, with no ability to optimize shipments across internal business groups. Limited visibility to the status of inbound shipments was a problem for buyers.
Process Improvement – SaaS Solution
LeanTMS® now simplifies and expedites communication with carriers (tendering, order and load change requests, and carrier rate management). Routing guide management has been standardized on one system. LeanTMS performs shipment optimization and collects all order status information. The Private Transportation Market feature (SpotMarket) facilitates acquisition of additional capacity. The company implemented the LeanTMS Supplier Inbound Management, starting with seasonal goods. The company now receives accurate inbound data for both shipment and inventory planning from suppliers across 15 distribution centers. The objective is to control 100% of inbound transportation, even if that results in higher freight costs, because inventory control and visibility to inbound goods provides competitive advantage.
The company attained increased manpower efficiencies; logistics planners can handle more shipments because the most urgent transactions are more visible and the other transactions are managed automatically through system processes for tendering and bidding. Transportation expenditures have been reduced through use of the Private Transportation Market. By implementing Supplier Inbound Management, the company eliminated manual communication with suppliers for ready-to-ship information and also eliminated “truck ordered but not used” charges that were incurred historically due to bad data. Another benefit is accurate data for inbound reporting, e.g., actual ship locations, dates, and quantities ordered versus quantities shipped.