Huhtamaki Inc., a producer of consumer-goods and food-service packaging, was looking to expand its international activities. Scott Stuckenschneider, vice president of North American supply chain, is joined by Sheila Hewitt, vice president international with Transplace, to discuss how the company formalized its global logistics program.
Huhtamaki set out to formalize its international logistics program. The company was motivated by its rising international freight spend, which remains a relatively small part of its operations but is growing in importance, says Stuckenschneider. “We found that the complexities were such that we didn’t have the expertise to manage it,” he says.
Transplace had been a service partner of Huhtamaki for some six years on the domestic side. Stuckenschneider said the company had confidence in the ability of Transplace to take over international responsibilities as well. “It was a good opportunity to demonstrate our international group’s capabilities,” says Hewitt. The provider had a number of employees with expertise in that area.
Huhtamaki exports and imports product in all regions of the world. In some cases, its customers are responsible for routing the freight, causing the company to rely on their freight forwarders. At such times, it becomes critical that the company ensure it’s in compliance with international customs regulations. “You have to have a lot of confidence in your partner,” says Stuckenschneider.
Transplace recommended that Huhtamaki rely on the services of a non-vessel operating common carrier for ocean shipments. The strategy gave it greater flexibility and access to multiple providers, says Hewitt. It also equipped Huhtamaki with more negotiating clout with underlying ocean carriers.
Accessing critical trade and logistics intelligence in various countries “is a full-time responsibility,” says Hewitt. As a third-party logistics provider, Transplace’s job is to stay on top of changing customs requirements and labor situations. “We try to stay on the pulse of the industry,” she says.