In 2005, logistics at U.S. Foodservice was highly decentralized; each division operated separately, using more than 1,000 carriers and 70 technology platforms. A partnership with JDA Software changed all that. By converting to one robust platform and implementing JDA solutions, USF gained visibility across its business units and achieved tremendous efficiencies.
"JDA brought us a single, centralized solution that allowed us to maximize opportunities for our divisions to work together," says Todd Jackson, president of Alliant Logistics, USF's internal logistics arm. Two important enablers of this achievement were supply chain visibility and transportation optimization, Jackson says.
"The capabilities of JDA's Transportation Manager and Transportation Modeler were key to leveraging our internal operations to see which divisions could collaborate most effectively on inbound distribution," he says.
The primary challenge for USF was not in configuring or implementing the technology, but in the learning curve required to shift employees from former processes and technologies to a new platform with true optimization, Jackson says. "It always comes down to change management," he notes.
Fabrizio Brasca, vice president of global logistics solutions at JDA, agrees with that assessment. "Our solutions represent a step change for people who are new to the robust sophistication they bring to operations," he says. "Working through that change management process is always a challenge." Also, because of the distributed nature of USF's organization and the existence of multiple systems, "a lot of complexity was involved in bringing everything under one umbrella," Brasca says.
The value is evident in USF having reached its return-on-investment target for this project much earlier than anticipated. "It is amazing what you are able to do from a transportation and logistics perspective once you have everything in one system and can really look at opportunities across the enterprise for lowering cost and maximizing equipment utilization," Jackson says.
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