Learn how companies are using third party services to realize some of the benefits of outsourcing logistics and public / contract warehousing.
Case studies will be added to this site on a regular basis, so we encourage you to visit often.
A customized inventory tracking system enables client to focus on business transition.
|Automotive||Logistics & Asset Management|
|Growing Business - gains Big Company Capabilities||HBC||Logistics & Value-Add|
|Outsourcing the details enables company to focus on their primary goal - serving the customer||Construction Equipment
||Logistics & Value-Add|
|Leveraging Technology - provides improved inventory control
||Distribution & Technology|
|Cash Flow Improved through use of Foreign Trade Zone
||Food & Beverage
||Distribution & Value-Add|
Saddle Creek gives Jurlique benefits of a big company with small-company care
When providing products with "purity, integrity and care” is key to your company mantra, it's essential that your products arrive in top condition. And if you're a small- to mid-sized company distributing those products with limited resources, thousands of miles away, you need a logistics partner who can deliver. For Jurlique, an Australian manufacturer of organic skin-care products, Saddle Creek Corporation is a natural fit.
"We're a small company without a lot of capital to spend on distribution infrastructure," says Brett Levine, Director of Operations for Jurlique USA. " We wanted to work with a company that wasn't so big that we would be lost in the shuffle but was able to provide the same services and benefits of a larger 3PL." For Levine, Saddle Creek was the obvious solution.
The Business Challenge
Levine first began his search for a logistics partner in response to an aggressive company-wide marketing mandate. After two decades in the skin-care industry, Jurlique was expanding globally. Plans called for growing the business five times over in five years, but budgets did not allow for expanding existing warehouse operations.
Levine had carefully thought out his search criteria for a viable 3PL. Due to limited internal resources at Jurlique, his partner would need to offer personal attention and turnkey capability.
All of the products distributed in the United States would be piece-picked and shipped from a single Atlanta distribution center. "We needed someone with the warehousing infrastructure already in place," Levine explains.
Jurlique ships 80,000 to 120,000 units per month – 300 to 400 SKUs – that include glass bottles, aluminum tubes, samples in small plastic envelopes and promotional materials. This diverse product line and changing volume requires flexibility.
There are also time and temperature sensitivities to consider. With typical expiration dates of two to three years from the date of manufacture and required temperatures ranging from just above freezing to 85° F, products require temperature-controlled warehousing and distribution.
After reviewing proposals from a number of logistics providers, the choice of a partner was easy for Levine: Saddle Creek Corporation.
Turnkey capability. Saddle Creek provides comprehensive services for Jurlique, including receiving and sorting product, order receipt and processing, handling pick-packs, coordinating reverse logistics, managing inventory control and customer invoicing. Levine even has an office on-site at Saddle Creek's facility. "They're a national 3PL, and they're big on service," says Levine.
Product arrives at Saddle Creek's Atlanta DC packaged and prepared to ship, but it's a piece-pick operation – breaking open cases and repacking them for shipment with bubble wrap, peanuts or cello airbags. "Packaging is probably the most labor-intensive service we get from Saddle Creek," says Levine. "Our products need to show up in pristine condition because much of our product is going to boutique, high-end spas where appearance is everything. We trust Saddle Creek to meet our high standards."
Top-notch technology. Warehouse management system capabilities were high on Levine's list of ideal 3PL criteria, and Saddle Creek comes through in that area as well. Levine especially values Saddle Creek's online reports that allow him to monitor inventory levels, check order status, or review activity on any item over a three-month span. "I can get that information easily with just a couple of clicks," he says. "Getting the same information before we had Saddle Creek was a time consuming and sometimes manual process. The reports are a big benefit from an inventory perspective. They also help us to act fast and handle problems before they escalate."
It's not just Saddle Creek's technological savvy that appeals to Levine, however. "Saddle Creek has all the technological capabilities we need," Levine says. "They offer key technological advantages like their warehouse management system, but they're not run by machine. They still have the human element."
Flexibility. Jurlique's ever-changing needs make flexibility a must. "Saddle Creek has the infrastructure there, but they also have flexibility in staffing," says Levine. "If our business softens temporarily, they're able to shift staff to other accounts, and in times when we're really busy, they're able to bring in additional help." Process flexibility is also a plus, according to Levine. "Saddle Creek takes a consultative approach. They helped us come up with processes that can handle change so that we're not always reinventing the wheel."
Personal attention. Saddle Creek's enthusiasm for Jurlique's business especially appealed to Levine. "They really showed an interest in having us as a customer," he says. "They were excited to have a pick-and-pack operation in the facility, and they were interested in our unique issues – something we weren't getting from bigger companies we considered. The involvement and accessibility of key Saddle Creek management was – and still is – a big attraction for us."
Third-party logistics provider handles the details so Multiquip can focus on the primary goal — serving the customer.
"We've always been a very service-based company," says Terry Blomgren, Supply & Distribution Manager for Multiquip, one of the world's leading manufacturers and distributors of light- and medium-sized construction equipment. "It used to be that our singular focus was to take care of our customers. A lot has changed in the 30-plus years we've been in business, but we want to keep the same focus." To do that – and accommodate the company’s significant growth – Multiquip chose to outsource many of its logistics functions, so the company could focus on its core competency.
Of course, Multiquip chose its logistics partner carefully. The company needed a 3PL that could handle special requirements and help Multiquip to advance its service level by incorporating Automatic Data Collection (ADC) and RF technology. "Our business depends on being able to have the right product in the right place at the right time at the right price," Blomgren says. "Saddle Creek enables us to do just that."
The Business Challenge
The decision to outsource didn’t happen overnight at Multiquip. The company experimented with operating its own warehouses and coordinating consignment programs but found that its service level often was suffering as a result, particularly in the southeastern United States. The wrong products frequently were shipped, serial number reporting was compromised, and deliveries were recorded inaccurately. Multiquip recognized that the company's tradition of service was at stake and decided to explore additional options in the Southeast.
However, finding an alternative logistics solution wasn't easy. Multiquip has an extensive product line – generators, rammers, rollers, plate compactors, light towers, dewatering pumps, welders, concrete installation equipment and more. To complicate matters, many of the products come in unusual shapes, sizes and packages, and some need mechanical alterations before final shipment (switching tires or rollers, unstacking units that are double stacked at the point-of-origin, etc.).
In addition, the company wanted to take its technological capabilities to the next level. "Plans for advancing our technology made it especially critical to find a partner with the right experience," Blomgren says.
Since the partnership began, Multiquip has found real value in Saddle Creek's capabilities. "Putting things in the hands of someone who can manage things better has really helped resolve some problems," says Blomgren. "We've had fewer customer complaints, our warehouse problems due to human error have gone away and our service to our customers has improved since we brought Saddle Creek on board."
The results can be attributed primarily to three key areas:
Facilities and capabilities. As a national company providing warehousing, transportation, and integrated logistics nationwide, Saddle Creek is well-positioned to accommodate the volume and variety of Multiquip's shipments as well as the special requirements for many of its products.
Currently, Multiquip is using Saddle Creek warehouses in North Carolina, Florida and Texas, but, if business warrants, Multiquip could take advantage of Saddle Creek's extensive capabilities at other facilities.
Saddle Creek is also equipped to handle Multiquip's special shipments. For example, when mixers arrive double-stacked and bolted together with an angle iron to save on freight costs, Saddle Creek personnel take them apart. Or if a concrete buggy has pneumatic tires but the customer prefers foam-filled tires, they are switched out at the Saddle Creek warehouse. By modifying existing inventory rather than manufacturing new products, Multiquip can save on production and shipping costs.
"A lot of third-party logistics companies can't or won't do that. Saddle Creek can and will," says Blomgren. "It really boils down to service level. History has shown that we can convey to them our expectations, and they will deliver results."
Advanced Technology. Saddle Creek's technological expertise is also valuable. Saddle Creek is able to operate off of Multiquip's SAP system. Thanks to Saddle Creek's experience in ADC, Multiquip was able to roll out that capability sooner than expected in North Carolina.
Saddle Creek's proven RF technology capabilities have also had an impact.
"Saddle Creek gives us real-time forecasting capabilities. We don't have to wait for data migration or transition." says Blomgren. "If we're short on a product that we manufacture, we can adjust the production cycle. If it's something we distribute, we can place a purchase order. If we're lean in one warehouse, we can track where the product should have shipped from and correct the problem. It enables us to have the right product at the right time."
Fresh ideas. Saddle Creek's commitment to doing "Whatever It Takes" really shines through in the company's service to Multiquip. "Even if it's not a standard practice, they can figure it out and do it at a reasonable cost," explains Blomgren. "They also come to us with questions and comments that help us improve our facilities and provide better service to our customers."
A deceptively simple example springs to mind. Customers routinely called Multiquip with questions about a mixer that ships with an attached hitch. The pick ticket calls out for two items even though they are assembled as a single unit, and customers mistakenly believed that they were missing a piece. Saddle Creek helped eliminate the confusion by suggesting that they add a sticker to bills of lading to clarify how many pieces customers should expect to find.
"We could have come up with a solution if we thought about it long enough," Blomgren says. "But the point is that we didn't have to. Saddle Creek did the thinking for us."
Evans Provides Technology Solution for Automotive OEM
The Business Challenge
In conjunction with an automotive OEM client, Evans Distribution Systems executed a major initiative to track all the engines built at one of the automaker's plants. The client was looking for improvements in inventory control and data-tracking, and turned to Evans to ramp up the project on short notice.
The project requires scans of long number-and-letter combinations on inbound loads of engines - an impossible task to perform manually. Adding to the complexity of the project is that the client is producing two different six-cylinder engines at its plant, effectively doubling the database.
Evans installed a wireless, radio frequency (RF) bar coding system at its main warehouse that could accommodate the client's needs and more.
When an inbound load of engines rolls onto Evans' warehouse dock, the engine racks are pulled off the truck. After the data is scanned, the engines are moved into storage until delivery to one of five assembly plants. Evans made modifications to the building and added staff and equipment for the engine project. The docks were reinforced with stronger dock plates and Evans purchased 10,000-pound hi-los to handle the engines.
The new scanning system provides several benefits:
- Decreased labor and improved accuracy
- Increased data-tracking from three items to more than nine, including supplier code, serial number of each engine and storage location
- Vastly improved shipment visibility and inventory control
- Real time information; the current stock balance is immediately reflected on the Internet
While bar coding and RF are not new to the logistics industry, an application taken to this level of detail is unique and keeps with the Evans legacy of providing innovation and simplified systems for its clients.
Evans Delivers Success for Malt Beverage Company
The Business Challenge
As the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of premium adult beverages the holiday season is critical to success for this whisky distiller. Products that people want must be on the shelves or sales targets for the entire year can be missed. With a window of opportunity so brief yet so important, errors or delays can be disastrous.
To help manage this most important time of year, the company relies on Evans Distribution Systems to provide custom packing, inspection, warehousing and transportation services for point-of-sale packaging programs of their product. This is the largest selling Canadian whisky in the world, and during the holidays the spirit is sold in a variety of premium packages with collectable, hand-blown glassware.
Evans brings the pieces together for final assembly: the whisky comes in from Canada, the packaging arrives from New York, and the glassware is shipped from the Orient. The components are joined by Evans via value-added premium packaging lines; they are custom assembled, warehoused onsite, and shipped to regional distribution centers according to a precise schedule.
One of the keys to delivering the program for our customer is an onsite Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) within the Evans warehouse. The FTZ is a secured area legally outside U.S. Customs territory. No duty is paid on imported goods until they leave the zone, and no duty is ever paid on goods that are re-exported. And there's no time limit on how long items may be stored inside an FTZ.
For the customer, the FTZ offers a few distinct advantages:
- Cash flow savings by delaying payment of duties and excise taxes until goods leave the zone
- Foreign and domestic goods can be intermingled
- Goods can be released immediately, unlike bonded storage which can require 48 hours.