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Marquis is a small, privately held company that specializes in logistics and operations for crude oil and renewable aspects of the energy business. Formed in the early 1970s, it began supporting ethanol movements in 2007. “We became very good at the logistics of inbound and outbound product movements in the renewable space,” says Pieper.
There were some significant supply-chain challenges attached to the new direction. When Marquis entered the crude business early last, it was confronted with a tenfold increase in traffic to its terminal. Suddenly, the company needed something other than Excel spreadsheets to handle shipment tracking. It lacked an understanding of where assets were, as well as the associated costs. In short, says Pieper, it found itself unable to respond to changing business situations.
Marquis needed end-to-end visibility of product in transport and at rest. It had to know when product was being picked up and dropped off, and how long it took to reach the customer. And it had to scale quickly to meet changing demand patterns. “Before, we had information,” says Pieper, “but we couldn’t use it in any meaningful way.”
After reviewing several possible software applications, Marquis picked Quintiq Inc., a vendor of supply-chain optimization applications. Implementation of the tool was rapid and “on the fly,” and within three months the company was handling ten times more product, Pieper says.
In the process, he says, “we were able to truly optimize our supply chain, and make much better business decisions.”
Next, Marquis plans to expand its use of real-time asset tracking, “so that the system starts making decisions for us.”
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