Three years ago, there wasn't much in the way of software to help planners analyze their transportation programs in a strategic manner, says Lobo. That picture has changed. Systems are now being implemented internally that can manage multiple platforms, countries and modes of transport. "Visibility," he says, "is everything."
JBS is a global processor of animal protein that is incorporated into food, leather, pet and biodiesel products. Multiple acquisitions had saddled the company with a hodgepodge of planning systems, which have now been combined into a single platform. In 2008, JBS began implementing an SAP enterprise resource planning system throughout the company, in the process consolidating technology for the management of sales, accounts payable, freight forwarding and documentation, among other functions.
It's still too early to assess the impact of the initiative, which remains in the implementation phase, yet is required to deliver a payback this year. "We're expecting better results than today, for sure," says Lobo.
Like all shippers, JBS must cope with rising shipping costs, "a very sensitive subject in the industry today," according to Lobo. The company, he said, is committed to working with carriers in order to strike a balance between freight cost and profitability for transportation partners.
Big changes in transportation are afoot in Brazil, where rail is beginning to take the place of truck as the more efficient means of shipping product. The downside of rail, Lobo says, is the additional time it takes to move perishable products to the coast. At the same time, "we can use rail as a warehouse in transit, if we know we're going to sell [the product]."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain management IT, global logistics, transportation management, logistics management, logistics IT, transportation management systems, supply chain planning
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