Ron Sweet, senior consultant at Kimberly-Clark, describes how the CPG giant optimized transportation management, in this case study submission to the 2022 Supply Chain Innovator of the Year Award competition, sponsored by SupplyChainBrain and CSCMP.
The problem confronting Kimberly-Clark was hardly unique to the company. Everyone who needs to contract for motor carriers knows what it’s like to order a number of trucks one day and none on other days. That fluctuation affects carriers as well as shippers’ expenses.
Looking to “smooth out” the volatility in its transportation management, the Kimberly-Clark team analyzed how much of its freight needed to ship on a certain day. “We asked if some of that could be shipped a day earlier or a day later and create a more level flow of product across our transportation partners,” Sweet says. “Every one of our transportation partners told us, if you could do that, we certainly could take more trucks off the road by improving the backhauls, [and] get drivers home by leveling that demand. We also saw where a lot of our analysts were not having to make many phone calls because we weren't running out to the spot market chasing non-contracted carriers.”
Kimberly-Clark’s technology partner brought two tools to the table, Sweet says. “One was level loading, so we could put those trucks at a more level manner. But the other thing was early tendering.”
Analysis showed Kimberly-Clark was only using about 65% of its contract carriers. The rest was going to the spot market. “By bringing in these tools, we took a lot of the manual touches away from our deployment planners.”
Now, Sweet says, “Close to 100% of our trucks are going on our award carriers, and our carriers are winning because they can plan more backhauls.”
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