When Pinnacle Foods, manufacturer of Swanson and Vlasic brands, decided to bring transportation management back in-house after having outsourced it for some time, finding the right technology was crucial.
"We were trying to find an end-to-end supply chain solution that gave us complete visibility throughout our entire network," says Gregg Bostick, vice president of transportation at Pinnacle, Mountain Lakes, N.J. "We wanted to be able to see when loads were picked up and when they were dropped off. But more than that, we wanted to see the payment system associated with each of those loads."
Pinnacle found the visibility and other capabilities it was seeking in LeanLogistics, Holland, Mich., which provides an on-demand transportation management solution. "Lean may have had a gap or two in its solution, but they actually went to work and filled in those gaps. The pieces they developed were not critical path items, but they did develop them very quickly," Bostick says.
Pinnacle's decision to insource transportation management was "a big decision but not a difficult one," Bostick says. The company had, in fact, hired Bostick because he had similar experience insourcing transportation at another company. "When I joined Pinnacle, transportation was about a $100m operation, all outsourced, and we will be around $124m this year. When we brought it inside, we saved $1m right off the bat," he says. "Even with the salaries I am paying people -an additional director and two additional managers and all of our coordinators - we still saved that much."
The majority of these savings "all had to do with using 100 percent of the LeanLogistics technology the way it was designed to be used," Bostick says. This includes "using the system to track and trace all of our information instead of having to make phone calls to see where the carrier is and what he is doing. We let the system do all of that back-end office stuff.
"Not only that, we have one accounts payable clerk to process $120m because everyone is paid electronically. We completely did away with paper invoices. If we have a question on an invoice, then we will ask for paper, but I can probably count on one hand the number of times that has happened since we went live."
Bostick commends LeanLogistics overall for its "can do" attitude. "Some of the things I ask for and some of the things I know other customers have asked for are not necessarily the easiest to provide. But on several occasions, Lean has come through faster than we expected."
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