The key to a successful collaborative partnership between shippers and their third-party logistics providers is that "both parties need to understand each other," says Iobst. "It's almost as if they need to date." The effort should involve multiple levels of personnel on both sides, from senior management to day-to-day operators.
Sunny Delight has had a relationship with Transplace for more than 10 years. “Every time they bring in a new person, that person gets to know our company,” Iobst says. “They also have a relationship with my customers.” Some have unique shipping requirements that must be taken into account.
McGuigan says it’s essential to align the two organizations at all levels. In addition, a process should be in place that outlives the tenure of any one individual. “When you’re interchanging people,” he says, “you need to make sure you’re constantly reinforcing things that are important to the shipper.”
A good relationship involves shared benefits between the parties. Iobst is under constant pressure to squeeze more efficiencies out of the Sunny Delight supply chain. Transplace has been instrumental in offering new ideas to make that possible, she says.
Sometimes extra effort is required. Sunny Delight has good and bad years, in line with economic cycles. The latter require an even more concerted push to increase efficiencies, Iobst says. There are times, she adds, when “I needed more than day-to-day improvements.”
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