We often invite customers to share their experiences as they strive to transform their supply chains, create efficiencies and drive new innovations. Hearing their stories of challenges, lessons learned and successes can be extremely beneficial, especially for those who are about to embark on their own transformation journeys.
Last week, FourKites CEO Matt Elenjickal and industry expert Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics sat down with Yone Dewberry. Yone is SVP and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Land O’Lakes, Inc., an established FourKites customer who has benefited from using data to gain better visibility into their end-to-end supply chain.
One of the things that makes Land O’Lakes’ journey so instructive is its highly diversified and unpredictable supply chain. Mostly known for its dairy business, Land O’Lakes also has businesses devoted to animal nutrition and seeds/crop protection – all with different needs and complexities. The dairy business has huge seasonal peaks, for instance, while the animal food division requires same or next day delivery, and the agricultural business fluctuates with weather conditions. To meet these needs, Land O’Lakes works with both large national carriers, as well as small private fleets that can deliver shipments to rural areas. To put things in perspective, Land O’Lakes delivers more than 1,000 shipments per day, and services approximately 33,000 locations with about 17,000 SKUs.
As I listened to the conversation, there were a few points that struck a chord with me.
It’s all about the customer
As supply chains mature, real-time, predictive visibility is vital to improve operations and elevate the customer experience. As Yone put it, “Customers may buy products, but what they are really buying is the entire experience. And that’s what they are judging a company on.” Real-time visibility into shipment location is foundational to that experience. Being able to seamlessly share location data with your carriers, drivers and customer service teams ensures that customers will not only have the most up-to-date information but that you’ll be able to take immediate corrective actions when issues arise. What does this look like in action? One of the largest wholesale grocery supply companies in the US reported a 65% decrease in calls to dispatch following FourKites deployment.
Play nice with others
In an industry still challenged by rising transportation costs and heightened consumer expectations for fast delivery, no one can afford to waste trucking capacity with deadhead miles. By using the predictive capacity management tools within its visibility platform, Land O’Lakes has the opportunity to collaborate with other grocery manufacturers and food retailers who share common lanes to improve utilization. Collaborative shipping has many advantages, including higher vehicle fill rates, more efficient use of driver time, lower transportation costs and reduced emissions. Most importantly, as Yone noted, “By collaborating with other shippers, we are helping carriers keep their trucks moving. For us, it’s been a big plus, a big blessing to work with those carriers, so that they consider us one of their shippers of choice.”
The benefits of visibility extend far beyond location tracking. They can truly revolutionize the way businesses operate. For example, if warehouses can pinpoint when a truck will arrive, they can manage their dock schedule with greater accuracy, better manage their labor and more efficiently sequence their operations. On the inbound side, it is critically important to keep lines running. Knowing a shipment will be late enables manufacturing to adjust production plans accordingly.
Companies like Land O’Lakes are illustrative of the widespread benefits of visibility, from improved customer service to better labor management at the warehouse to higher utilization on routes. We are thrilled to be a part of Land O’Lakes’ visibility journey as they add value across their entire supply chain and on to their end users. And thank you to Adrian Gonzalez for helping to facilitate this conversation!