Mar 31, 2022 10:00:00 AM | 6 Min Read

A heavy materials manufacturer outgrew its supply chain. Here’s how we fixed it.

Posted By
Wendy Mackenzie
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A heavy materials manufacturer outgrew its supply chain. Here’s how we fixed it.

SUMMARY

A leading office partition manufacturer was losing profit to burgeoning freight costs and risked losing customers to spiraling delivery delays. They came to IL2000 looking for a 3PL that could offer strong team continuity, a personal touch, and a solution for lasting supply chain scalability. We unlocked better shipping options for the company, implemented a customized BI dashboard, and kept their operation gliding along at peak efficiency with weekly strategy meetings.

The results? Shipping cost reductions of over 20% and a ton of happier customers.


COMPANY PROFILE

This Virginia-based company is a leading manufacturer of high-quality office layout systems, including cubicles, panels, partitions, modular walls, and furniture. The business has thrived for over three decades, establishing a firm reputation as a brand offering affordable office products built to a high construction standard. The company entered a period of rapid expansion, extending its product offering to commercial properties across the whole United States.

PAIN POINTS

  1. The company was expending significant revenue on freight — a problem exacerbated by a product line that included many heavy and difficult-to-ship products. With such a demanding freight outlay on its shoulders, the company’s profitability was taking a hit. To keep growing, they needed to find a path to greater freight cost-efficiency.
  2. Delivery exceptions and delays were entering the company’s radar too late in the shipment process. Customer agreements placed considerable emphasis on on-time delivery; every late shipment led to penalty charges. Adding to the problem, delivery delays were slowly dissolving customer confidence.
  3. The company’s supply chain documentation and reporting tools were blunt instruments. Bills of lading failed to capture a sufficient level of detail for multi-stop truckload shipments. Our client couldn’t compare shipping costs across modes. These and similar data challenges forced the company to continually waste money on sub-optimal shipping solutions.

CHALLENGE

Our client had an underpowered freight operation that left them consistently playing catch up. Every day, supply chain managers were dropping everything to attend to critical flashing red light shipment problems. Every week saw bigger penalty charges, greater uncertainty, more waste.

SOLUTION

Better shipping options unlocked

Here’s a mechanical engineering truth to chew on: You can’t add power to a system if its pipes are cracked and leaking. We’ve found the same rule applies to supply chain engineering. Putting that principle into action, our first goal was to fix the leaks. To do that, we equipped our client with a tool for easily consolidating shipment loads. Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, they could neatly organize pending LTL orders according to servers and costs. Overnight, our client gained the power to swiftly evaluate LTL vs multi-truck, compare efficiencies across modes, and shop for a competitive rate. Wasted freight outlay dropped drastically. Supply chain processes got faster. Decisions got smarter.

Rapid response system activated

With the company’s newly tuned and invigorated supply chain engine ticking over in the background, our team of supply chain planners turned their gaze to our client’s visibility challenges. Our goal here was simple; we wanted to build a dashboard that put a stop to unexpected supply chain emergencies. Fortunately, we have a purpose-built tool for just this kind of challenge: power BI. Drawing from best-in-class BI logic, we set our client up with a brightly lit, top-down view of every corner of its supply chain operation. Then we set up an alert system. If something went awry with a delivery, one of our supply chain specialists would be on the case in under 15 minutes. Clarity happened. Smart people were swinging into action long before problems became emergencies.

IL2000 thought partnership mobilized

Returning to our mechanical engineering metaphor, an engine won’t work well if it’s rusty. The final part of our solution package was a way to keep our client’s supply chain well-tuned, reliable, and capable of acceleration when the situation demands.

We came on board as thought partners. Every week, we’d sit down with their supply chain team to analyze the past and strategize a more efficient future. Drawing on decades of supply chain experience — from trucking to warehouse management to financial modeling — our team offered systematic and seasoned advice on how to move products faster, more reliably, and at less cost. Sometimes we’d delve into their data to find small wins. Other times we’d uncover a dire situation they might have walked into blind, or the unexpected supply chain opportunity they might have missed. Access to IL2000’s thought partnership future-proofed the company’s supply chain, setting in place a process of continuous improvement that kept their inbound and outbound shipping lean, mean, and reliable. A lot of people got more sleep. Someone started yoga.

RESULTS

  • Total shipping costs reduced by 23% with one 54 point data scrub identifying $10,000 in carrier charges.
  • Late delivery charges cut by 70% with on-time delivery improving to well above the industry average.
  • Improved customer satisfaction with a scalable supply chain solution that can grow as the company grows.


Download the One Page Case Study here

Case Study One page_Heavy materials manufacturer-1

 

Topics: Logistics Management, Case Studies, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Supply Chain

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