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Talking Logistics – How TranzAct’s Constellation TMS Helped Idahoan Achieve Transportation Savings

Talking Logistics – How TranzAct’s Constellation TMS Helped Idahoan Achieve Transportation Savings


hello and welcome to talking logistics
where we have conversations with thought leaders and newsmakers in the supply
chain logistics industry my great pleasure welcome today’s program Cameron
Kelsey who is transportation and inventory manager at ahonen and mike
reading who is co-founder and chief of relationship development at tranzact
today we’re going to talk about Idahoans journey to achieving sustained
transportation savings now in our previous episode we talked about some
critical factors to achieving to stay in transportation saving you know the
importance of culture having accountability we talked about
technology in the role of third-party partners and we’re going to focus today
in teays episode on those two parts you know the roles technology and the role
of managed services and technology and partners so we’re very fortunate to have
with us today yes both Cameron and Mike on the program so gentlemen welcome to
the odds to the program thanks thanks for having me Adrian delightful we’ll be
back with you great great so you know Cameron let’s start with you and kind of
before we dive into the topic why don’t you tell us a little bit about you know
Idahoan in case there are people out there who are not familiar with the
company and what you current responsibilities are there at the
company sure I tejon foods as a dehydrated potato manufacturer at idle
Falls Idaho we produce flavored dehydrated mashed potatoes and
casseroles we sell to all the major grocery retailers and like you said I’m
the inventory transportation and warehousing manager so I manage all the
activities in those three spaces for our company well you know in the few times
that I’ve been brave enough to actually go to the supermarket and shop for my
family’s groceries I’ve seen Idahoans products on the on the other shelves
there and I think we’ve bought them are quite a few times so I’m really good
great-greats dad to the program across Mike’s you know you’re you’re now a
returning guest here I take a lot of folks in the industry i know you’re very
well i went the role they’re not all get transact but various organizations in
the logistics industry um you know Cameron just cast a little bit through
that I kekeke use a snapshot of your transportation operations sure I never
we manage about 4,000 loads a year and we’ve partnered with about 15 carriers
or brokers to handle right for us we’ve got about six
distribution centers locally here that we ship out of and we do all we do three
modes we do intermodal full truckload and LCL great so obviously you know
multiple modes you know some level of complexity there with your operations
yeah all right so let’s let’s um you know let’s go back you know to before
you know you started working with which transact connected to start to journey
there I mean what were some of the you know transportation challenges or goals
that you were looking to achieve that ultimately led you to partner with
transact sure one of the goals we had was to have a system that helped us make
the right routing decision you know looking both at cost and service the
other thing we wanted to do is we want to have a system automated a lot of the
more going to be more administrative tasks like you know tendering the
carriers and and and paying invoices and checking up on loan so we wanted to
automate some of that as we looked at a partnership there are a few attributes
we look for one was we wanted to have someone who’s an extension of us and
when you think of a third party sometimes you worry that they won’t care
about your business as much as they do so we needed someone who cared a new
about our business as much as we did and we also wanted someone who felt
comfortable making decisions and executing them and then bringing us
involved bring us into any exceptions or four issues that came up along the
process you know some great some good points i think you know it echoes a lot
of what I give with other shippers that have you know similar situations I mean
one of the things I here as well Cameron is looking for partners so tell us
something we’d already know right shoji educate us on what’s happening to market
it was that’s another factor for you as well yeah I was it was right on great
great so Mike I mean listening to idahoan story obviously you’re very
involved but you know with it I mean how does their story compare the stories of
other shippers that you work with I mean what are some of that you know common
challenge is a thread with some of the other shippers that you work with well
one of the reasons we’re excited about working with Cameron and the Idaho and
team is because like other companies we work with they have an emphasis on a
couple of points for of all they want to get better most
importantly they see something and they they don’t accept it as is they want to
get better that leads them on a journey you know asian and our last interview we
talked about the lean journey and all and lean is really all about one of the
key principles is elimination of waste one of the things that Cameron and seem
have been very good at is to you know take a look are there ways to do things
better through the utilization of technology and what we see with other
companies similar to an idahoan because they have that desire to get better and
because they’re not afraid of the technology or going to the outside you
know I am one of the things I like to remind people there’s a challenge when
you go to the outside sometimes egos can get involved and people can feel like
it’s a threat you know are you are you telling me that I can’t do it or I’m max
when it well enough well you know the good thing about Idaho and some of the
other companies we work with your the Eagles are put aside and if you have
technology that can help us eliminate waste the result is that we’re able to
run our transportation operations more efficiently and effectively and as a
result improve our company and that’s really you know from start to finish
Cameron and his team have been very good about that that genuine desire to see
Idahoan improve become more profitable through better transportation operation
and that’s a common theme that we see in each and every company that you know
wants that sustainable savings or the realization of those sustainable savings
yeah I mean I think going back to what you know both the you and Cameron just
said it kind of brings back a thought from my first conversation we’re kind of
alignment of culture is important right you want to make sure that is properly
thanked page and they’re working towards the same same objective um you know so
Cameron I mean you you using both transacts you know TMS Oh kind of on the
technology side and also leveraging their managed services so let’s start
with the TMS and then the technology side first I mean what are over some of
the key features or capabilities that you were looking for in a solution yeah
there are four key features we needed the first was you know we don’t look
just at cost or service we kind of look at
a matrix for the two so we have for every Lane that we ship we have a
ranking based with all of our carriers so we needed a waterfall tendering
process that would take that into account so that was that was the key
feature for us some of the others were we wanted a self invoicing process so
that we could easily pay our carriers a dock scheduling process and we wanted we
needs a lot of visibility so we wanted a reporting mechanism that could give us
any of the data that we need well there’s a lot of things this I think I
want to kind of dive into some of those things there so it’s starting with
visibility because that’s something that I think its top of mind and top of the
list for a lot of shippers you know they talk about a TMS they want visibility
you know what type of visibility are you getting and kind of what value is it
bringing to you sure the transect team’s been able to provide pretty much any
data we wanted it at any interval that we wanted it but but a few examples so
in the food industry we look at cost per pound so for every Lane we have a cost
per pound a cost per mile and so they’re able to tell us what that what those
metrics are that we’re hitting and we can compare that to our standards a few
other reports that we look at pretty regularly carrier on-time performance to
our customers since we’re heavily score carded in the food industry we also get
a lot of reports on Asus Orioles for detention and and what are those cones
igneous that might be causing a lot of detention for so those are those are
some examples that we look at you know the benefits our finance guys are always
trying to get information about how we’re performing to budget and what they
need to a crew for this month and and plan on spending next month so we use
those reports to answer those questions and also to sit down and and meet with
carriers and provide data to either our carriers and or our customers ya know
that that’s great show me on the reporting side you know you hit on some
key metrics I think that a lot of shippers you know look at particularly
in your industry and it sounds like really it serves as a vehicle you know
to chop drive continuous improvement right yeah you know we can pull that
data and and look at the last quarter last month or you know like I said we’re
always looking at it compared to budget great great so Mike I mean are you
seeing growing demand for visibility and business intelligence from you know that
the company to work with absolutely and I think part of that is being fueled by
some of the demand that retailers are putting on companies like an idahoan for
example Walmart and Target may do when they tightened up their delivery program
you know one of the things that we just posted in our LinkedIn our LinkedIn
leadership forum was a question that somebody was asking about the walmart
what formerly used to be known as a must arrive by date program now walmart has
there on time in full program and what they’ve done is tighten up the windows
associated with when that truck and deliver products so before we used to
have a two-day window that period has been shortened and there are some really
key factors that are driving this demand for visibility because they can have a
direct impact on your cost of serving that customer so you know Cameron could
/ to you know talk about for example the whole chargeback issue one of the
gentleman that came and work with mark Pesce we used to always kid and say that
charge backs were in essence a a profit Center for retailers well one of the
things we’re finding out for example with the walmart program is that the
carriers have a very tight window if a carrier gets there two to three hours
before that window is open that carrier has to sit which is why some of the
customers that we see are getting pushback from some of their carriers
about deliveries into a Walmart for example at walmart the great company and
they have a great way of doing business but it puts pressure and demand I’m
their their suppliers and so one of the ways we get involved in helping
companies with the visibility is to provide them with information about when
the truck actually showed up what happened when the truck got there what’s
happening with the truck while the goods are in transit and i think adrian is we
go forward we’re going to continue to see a lot more focus and
this is on that visibility I mean there are things that are happening today that
we see happening down in the future where you can track boxes within the
pallet type thing and so the demand for that I think is going to only get
greater as companies like I don’t have customers that you know are basically
putting increased requirements on them and so you know it used to be you could
just show up within a certain period everything was cool today it’s a lot
different yeah not absolutely i think one of the things that we talked about
in the previous episode as well was kind of move toward you know predictive
analytics right and so having that that advanced visibility because that you
know the margin for error or in the cost of driving blind is certainly increasing
you know year at the year as you just talked about their camera i want to go
back to something else that you talked about as well and that is that you
mentioned doc scheduling which i think for a lot of shit percent to overlook in
kind of its role and importance was not kind of top of the priority list but i
think in a lot of cases it’s a very critical part of the the process i mean
why why was this capability you know important for you guys and then what
benefit does it provide sure so if you look at our organization we have a few
local you know with quite a few local warehouses and so prior to having a doc
scheduler a carrier would have to call the warehouse to make an appointment but
the corporate office wanted to know when the trucks are coming in so we’d have
shared spreadsheets and just very confusing you think about a to pick load
a carrier might call the first warehouse and get an appointment and they call the
second warehouse and they’re an appointment doesn’t work for them so
with with the doc scheduler care can go online make an appointment of both
facilities escalate to us if there’s any issues but they can do all that work
without having that clerk sitting at every warehouse waiting for them to call
so some of the benefits we’ve seen like i said is not having to have the clerks
are taking the calls but but another big benefit has been less chances for
confusion and detention and so it there’s recording you know tracking
capabilities to know when the carrier made the appointment of what appointment
they made for so it takes all that doubt out of the process now with canada
visibility that we just talked about when you look at things
like you know detention you know charges and things like that is that something
you’ve seen that you know a positive improvement on as a result of putting
the doc scheduling in yeah we’ve seen a large reduction in detention and you
know it has to be a driver in this industry right now at this time and our
drivers seem to meet the drivers that come to seem to be much happier because
they know when their appointment is can we take care of him at that time and
everything’s a lot clearer that’s a great you know point deck I mean there’s
so much one of things that the industry has talked a lot about over the past few
years is in terms of you know being a a carrier friendly shipper right because
at the end of the day particularly you know you never know when capacity is
gonna get really tight again right and and Joey it if I decide I submit in some
industries and some lanes already right so be being a shipper of choice for
carriers is very important it we also got your dueling tool when a carrier
wants to have a slow to drop trailer they want to indicate that they want it
pre-loaded you know they can use that doc scheduler to indicate that to us so
so it’s really helped us become a stripper choice great Mike any thoughts
on Doc schedule what you’re seeing there from other shippers yeah first of all I
apologize for interrupting when when capacity gets tight we’re predicting
their 2017 shippers are going to see capacity tighten up the second thing
with the doc scheduler and in Cameron and his team there have been very good
about this you know in terms of outlining what was important for them
one of the key things that we take a look at is you know if I walk into a
company and say tell me what your production line is going to look like
for the day people can give me an idea at the start of the day what their
production line is going to look like so the thought there with the doc scheduler
is if I were to walk onto your dock tell me what your day is going to look like
what are we expecting to get in recently I was with a company and it’s got you
know millions of dollars coming into their facilities and it’s a bit chaotic
and one of the reasons is chaotic is because they were lying on a SN from
their suppliers that they have to aggregate and they’re doing this in a
manual environment once the data is aggregated then they have to develop a
game plan that basically says okay here’s what we expect to see with the
doc schedule or act in at the beginning of the day and I
think Cameron perhaps you could confirm this at the beginning today you know
what to expect and there’s a huge advantage associated with being able to
plan for that as well as then to also determine you know if there’s an
exception that comes up materia isn’t going to make their window you know what
are some of the alternatives that we have in order to satisfy the customer so
the doc scheduler is great but it also highlights things that you know I can go
two exceptions rather than have to look at 35 40 loads what I can focus on are
the two or three loads that are going to represent a challenge for my team that
day is that what you’re saying Cameron as well that’s exactly or saying an
idahoan and and you know another thing is you know directors with the corporate
office can can look at the dock manager and know how all the facilities are
operating you know if it’s twelve o’clock you can look at all the
facilities and see you know are we behind are we ahead of schedule and
making sure that we get the work done for the day great great yeah like I said
this is an area that I think historically has been overlooking a lot
of shippers but I think more and more companies are starting to pay attention
to it because it is such an integral part of the process kind of another area
Cameron that you mentioned that i think is getting more attention today as the
whole you know ray Donovan payments out of things you mentioned so self
invoicing if you describe a little bit about what you’re doing there and how
you love it is TMS to do that yeah we didn’t want to you know we have
contracted race with our carriers contracted asesoría yeah Jules fuel
schedules all that so we didn’t find it necessary to continue to make our
carriers have clerks and paper bills and we all know how expensive it is to
process a bill and so we use a felf invoicing process in the TMS because we
already have everything contracted everything except for unplanned APIs
Orioles are already agreed upon if those come up there’s a way to get those
approved and into the payment process but essentially everything closed a lot
faster and we pay the carriers a lot faster because they’re not having to
create that bill for us so that saves them time it saves us time and we pay
them a lot faster and one of the things I think is important is if you can keep
their costs down you’re not going to experience the
same rate increases but everyone else is saying nasty yeah that’s another great
point another component of being a you know carry or friendly shipper Mike I
mean are you seeing other shippers moving the same direction you know
implementing sells invoicing and kind of is a roll afraid auto payment changing
or different today than it was in the past well the role of fry taught and
payment is much different today than it was in the past there’s been a
significant evolution and some of the things that we are seeing one of those
areas where there’s been no tremendous changes is what Cameron is talking about
is the whole area of what we call the autopay process and once again and you
know the Cameron’s credit an idahoan credit what they’re really good at is in
one of the reasons that the profitable company they are is they’re taking a
look at where do we eliminate waste and practically speaking you know not for
every shipment but where you have shipments where there’s a high degree of
predictability and a high degree of accuracy instead of having the carrier
have to submit a freight bill we can go ahead and get that freight bill paid off
what’s coming off of the TMS now in order to do that and it’s really
important because I think some companies would like to think that their auto pay
capable but practically speaking they blow through some important controls
what Cameron referred to there is they know the rate at the time of shipments
they have contracts with their Terriers they’ve screened their carriers they
have defined access Orioles so they we when the shipments being prepared when
it’s being tempted to the carrier when that shipment leaves the dock we can say
with a very high degree of certainty but the cost for that shipment is going to
be five hundred dollars now what Cameron was also referring to is what do you
have with the undefined asus Orioles things like for example what we were
just talking about a minute ago detention well you know Idaho and has a
process whereby they can approve that and get to carry your pay and so once
again it involves streamlining their processes and you know one of the things
aging I just do want to highlight because I think Cameron idahoans been
very good in this regard is one of the things we talked about last week was the
three for sustained transportation saving
practices processes and pricing a lot of companies focus on pricing but they
don’t really spend as much time on the processes and practices and when you
spend time there and dedicate yourself to eliminating waste auto pay is one of
the things that just comes up to the surface and you say why not do it that
way it’s eminently more effective the carrier’s get paid in a timely manner
you know that shipper of choice issue you can help with the the rates that
you’re getting from the carrier’s idahoan by the way not related to a TMS
but one of the things Cameron you might just talk about what’s the cement pads
you built for some of your carriers because if they could drop trailers and
how that led to a reduction in cost right at home could you just briefly
ameron that one for a minute yeah when I first service the company we would have
trucks miles all the way to the highway backed up trying to load so we spent
some money as Mike mentioned putting in cement pads making sure that there was
places for them to drop their trailers and and we went from spending thousands
and thousands of dollars of detention every month to almost we have very
little detention on the shipping side we now get to work with some of our
customers to see if we can work on the on the receiving side great great
another great example I think in going back to the freight Ottoman payment I
certainly it’s been a topic that we’ve talked about here talking logistics for
for quite some time and you know my perspective is that going back to
visibility and bi is its wealth of data that comes out of the hope that whole
process helps create that feedback loop to provide additional insight into
what’s happening you know into your operations so Cameron let’s let’s shift
gears a little bit now you know we talked about the technology to TMS and
some of those capabilities you were looking for and how the providing value
let’s talk now about the managed services component of your relationship
with such a transact I mean what value and capabilities the strands that
provide yeah so when we serve it up with transact we spent a significant amount
i’m helping them understand our approach and our distribution network you know
who our customer what are our shipping points and we’re
unique in that we have unique from some customers and we have a lot of
distribution centers outside of idaho’s so there’s a lot of areas for
opportunities for consolidation because we have to get that product after those
warehouses 44 forward LTL shipments anyway so the trans that came like I
said we spent a lot of time with them as loads come in they either consolidate
those loads with other loads that make sense or they’ll look to our
distribution centers to to suggest that we send product to them to fill out the
truck so consolidations been a big one that drives down our coughs you know
some of the other key benefits the the managed service team those horses they
they track and trace loads request p.o.d is when we need them and like I said
earlier they really manage our business and involve us in the exceptions you
know when something needs to be elevated to us they bring it to our attention yes
I was going to be my question in terms of the the separation between roles and
responsibilities I mean what do you take the lead on and what is transact take
the lead on or in other cases eunos companies will take the lead on the
strategy on the network design so forth and then leave the day-to-day execution
and exception management and then relied upon us also help inform their strategy
as well it is that kind of generally speaking kind of the the breakdown at
urine you know we have a unique approach i think when we when we do business
reviews with transact they’re often suggesting changes you know and strategy
changes so they’re not afraid to suggest changes based on the data they’re saying
so they always bring that to our attention and I think on the day-to-day
stuff there are certain things that you know when you have to have a
conversation with the consignee they leave that up that but but but we kind
of predefined you know what they do and what we do and it works really well
especially if you spend the time during startup to make sure everyone’s clear
what the roles and responsibilities in our great great yeah it goes back that
point you know as part of the role being you know tell us something we don’t
already know right yeah so it’s a mic I mean is the
combination of technology with managed services something that more and more
shippers are looking for I mean the scope differ by shipper yeah and it
really is a it’s determined by the company the managed services is great
one of the approaches that we have though is to come in and we do not have
a predetermined solution that says this is the way we do business and try and
fit a square peg into a round hole type thing one of the things that sweet
points i want to highlight for you Adrian first of all Cameron and his
gentlemanly work with Mark and the whole team at Idahoans they did a great job of
outlining their business requirements and their business needs so that when we
initially talked with them we didn’t have the dock scheduler that they needed
we went back we were having into the customization area and we designed it
and you know it was a good fit for idahoan so having that discussion up
front is critically important but one of the other things that we’re taking a
look at that you know moving in 2.2 is on the manage versus control issue
that’s really determine our company by company basis and there are some things
that Idaho and chooses to retain control over versus half transact manage one of
the things that we like to remind people is that you know on his camera and as is
stated there we can be an extension basically your back room and where that
comes in handy is to be very candid and blunt and I think some of your most of
the people in your audience will appreciate this getting internal
resources within an organization you might want to have a root canal without
novocaine it’s easier to get the root canal than to justify adding additional
staff so in a managed services platform you can basically get those resources at
a fixed level that allows you to scrutiny to change on a moment’s notice
or that type of thing so that’s really a blend but the third thing is for
companies that want to retain a hundred percent control and simply want at
utilization of the technology that capability exists in terms of one of the
other things I want to highlight is the managed services side is great
but idahoan Cameron perhaps you could address this you have retained control
over the carrier base and where that comes in handy as some of our
competitors if you turn over the managed services to them they’re going to
determine which carriers haul your Freight the thing that makes us a bit
unique regardless of whether it’s controlled or manage our customers
determine a hundred percent of the carriers that are utilized to all their
shipments and maybe Cameron you know you could just touch on that there there
your carrier’s isn’t that correct I think yeah yeah we manage all the
contracts we had it in place before a relationship with transact and over the
years we’ve learned you know you learn which customers you know if you’re ten
minutes late to one customer you’re going to sit for an hour if you’re ten
minutes late to another we might sit a week and so you know knowing who those
customers are and which carriers fit into those carriers lanes was important
for us to maintain and so we keep the contracts and we’ve helped transact
understand why we pick certain carriers great great yeah I’ve certainly seen you
know the growth of that mixture of Technology managed services like you
said Mike every customer is different and you know it’s really a spectrum of
and really looking at you know what is the desired outcome of the client and
what are their specific needs and then putting together the right mix of
technology in the right mix of services to address their specific needs um you
know gentlemen we’re running short on time here so I’m just going to go right
to my last question and I Cameron I’ll start with you first you know as a way
to wrap up I mean what advice would you get to other shippers that are just
beginning their journey to take their transportation performance to a higher
level yeah my advice would be to look you know honestly look internally and
look at some of the activities we talked about you know for a stripper who’s
still picking up the phone calling a carrier to see if they’ll take a load or
for a shipper who has clerks still you know taking appointments via phone or
paying paper bills I mean those are very expensive activities yeah and as Mike
pointed out change is hard but if you take an honest look at that I think
people will realize that a good tea mass can not only help automate a lot of
those more administrative tasks but but it also provides the visibility that you
can run an approve your business great great advice Mike final thoughts yeah
very briefly Adrian you know you touched on it with the last question and that i
think you know we can talk about TMS we can talk about a lot of another
initiatives but one of the things that we talked about in our previous
interview that exists one underscore is understanding the company culture you
know for example what kind of company is probably going to favor a what we call
controls where they run the software they make the decisions etc would be a
company that’s decentralized has a lot of different facilities around the
country or in North America and basically responsibility for the
transportation function is vested at a local level well they’re going to be
ones that want to retain that control because they have ultimate line
responsibility whereas the managed services maybe we’re a company one of
our our customers just recently they’re they’re changing their making a youth
change where they’re going to go to a managed services and basically take
responsibility from the local operating units invested in a centralized platform
and so you know when you’re talking about TMS and some of the other things
we like to remind people as we mentioned in our last interview culture Trump’s
strategy and so you know if you’re doing something which one’s counter to the
strategy don’t be surprised when the people out at the field willingly or
unwillingly do things that subverts the effectiveness one of the things and just
closing I want to commend cameron and i Doan one of the things that’s really
been you know great and working with them is going back to what we said at
the very beginning hey they wanted to get better be they were willing to make
the changes to get better but see and most importantly in terms of execution
their follow-through has been very good and if there are bumps in the road
they’re very clear and communicating what those bumps in the road look like
and you know they’re understand going in that there’s this mutual commitment to
eliminating waste in improving profitability great great thoughts and
so again gentlemen thank you for making the time to be with us a camera and
thank you for you’re your story and kind of high your
journey has been and providing some great advice for for others listening
today and Mike always a pleasure having you on the program it’s a real delight
and Cameron thank you very much for taking the time to share your insights
you’re making it and thank you all for watching if you’re watching this episode
on demand on the transact website or the talk of injustice website and you’d like
to ask microcamera a question yeah you can post it there and I’m sure that
there would be more than happy to respond via that medium again thank you
all for joining us today and look forward to seeing you in a future
episode of socket logistics

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