May 25 2023 | 7 Min Read

Situation Files #1: Shipment consolidation

Posted By
Wendy Mackenzie
Situation Files #1: Shipment consolidation

How we saved a client four grand on freight in under one week

You’ll find a healthy library of case studies on our site. Browse around and you’ll see a surprising variety of tricky supply chain challenges dissected — with some big numbers and bigger ideas thrown around along the way. And all of that is great. But how do we actually get to those results? And what does that actually look like in a typical week?

Welcome to our Situation Files series!

In these quick reads, we’ll skip the big ideas, surprising quarterly aggregates and dazzling yearly results. Instead, we’ll take a closer look at a basic freight incident — nothing fancy! — just regular shipment challenges that happen to most supply chains sooner or later … usually on Friday at 4 pm … because isn’t that always the way?

To get the ball rolling, we’ll look at how we helped a manufacturer consolidate four shipments into one über-shipment, saving real time and a meaningful chunk o’ change along the way.

The upshot

  • $4000 saved on freight in under one week.
  • 5 to 10 hours of busy work avoided.
  • Four demanding clients satisfied, hitting the pay button, and rearing to do more business.

The sitch

This relatively new client ships from multiple warehouses and manages a pretty complicated distribution network. On this particular week, four completely unrelated customers ordered four completely unrelated products from four separate warehouses. You can do the follow-up supply chain administrative math here. We’re talking four separate emails, four PO numbers, four trucks, four lines on a shipping spreadsheet somewhere to eventually be buried in a quarterly analysis.

Whew. That’s a lot of fours. And, of course, a lot of time was sunk into making all that happen.

Here’s the thing, though! These four shipment orders all had one obvious thing in common that no one in the company had noticed.

They were traveling the same route.

Same departure city. Same destination city. A huge opportunity to save money on shipping was staring them right in the face, and they were on the cusp of missing it.

What was going wrong?

  • The company had a lot going on: People were just incredibly busy. They had a system that worked if you put your head down and got on with it, but they barely had time to come up for air. They had no bandwidth whatsoever to look at shipment efficiencies across product lines and warehouses.
  • It was hard to see the forest for the trees: This company had gotten lost in what we like to call the shipment-by-shipment mindset. Of course, they wanted to save money, but their existing freight system had been built to save a few hundred bucks here and there. No one in the company was looking at the bigger supply chain picture.
  • The company historically had to figure all this stuff out alone: This company had been working with a generic 3PL before partnering with IL2000. Their dealings with the generic 3PL had been transactional in nature, dealing with one shipment at a time with no eye to what came next. The conventional 3PL had no grounding in deep supply chain optimization. Nor — let’s be real here — did they have any financial incentive to help the company solve problems systemically! Up until now, our client had been on their own.

The solve

We quickly saw the money that could be saved (we’ll explain how we saw the consolidation opportunity when they didn’t in just a moment) and crunched the numbers. One of our freight specialists confirmed that each shipment would comfortably fit into one truck and that a multi-stop shipment process would meet every deadline at a fraction of the cost.

We called our client and advised on a quick and decisive course correction. Next, we helped make sure the shipment went off without a hitch. Then, once the dust had settled, we set up a system that’d help them better identify consolidation opportunities in the future.

All was well in their supply chain kingdom. Villagers rejoiced.

What went right?

  • We unleashed a metric gigaton of expert bandwidth: A big part of why our client had been missing this kind of stuff is that they simply didn’t have the time not to miss it. Conventional 3PLs don't help with this stuff - they're focused down at the process level. With IL2000 as a supply chain partner, suddenly our client had experts watching over their whole freight operation with an eagle eye for delivering long-term results. They were now positioned to ship leaner and smarter.
  • We helped unlock deeper insights: Through our business intelligence dashboard, Power BI, our people developed an intricate understanding of how our client’s freight worked. We got a handle on their shipment pipeline so extensively that we knew what was going out two, even three weeks in advance. We developed a keen insight into what was just around their supply chain corner.
  • We fixed the underlying problem: Most importantly, we tackled the problem as a bona fide expert partner, as vested in their success as our own. We got our hands dirty building better tools that positioned the company to see savings opportunities they’d hitherto been missing.

The take-home

This was one isolated incident, a business-as-usual Tuesday afternoon kind of deal when just a few well-timed phone calls and a couple of decision points saved a client four grand on freight and a solid ten hours of needless messing about.

We have just one question for you.

Would a real supply chain partnership like this make your life easier?

If it would … let’s chat! 


Topics: Case Studies, Pricing Strategy, Freight Costs

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