Tyson Foods: Optimizing Workforce Efficiency Through Supply Chain Visibility

The events of 2020 and the resulting strains on the supply chain highlighted the urgency for teams to be able to collaborate and leverage technology in real-time more than ever. For the supply chain, it’s especially vital that your most valuable, limited resources – time and your employees – are optimized at every step so shipments arrive on time. However, many teams are hesitant about bringing on a new way of working. Fear of the unknown is completely natural but also slows down progress.

However, at our recent Supply Chain Leadership Summit, Christopher Plant, Senior Manager of Tyson Foods’ Transportation Customer Service Group shared how he encouraged drivers and carriers to adopt FourKites’ visibility tools and the successes that followed. After working with FourKites since 2018, Christopher sees daily how visibility allows faster collaboration and drives workforce efficiency. While introducing and implementing new software can be difficult, Tyson Foods has not only succeeded at implementing new tools but regularly has more carriers request the platform.

Q. Chris, in order to increase the efficiency of your workforce, you need to first get them to buy into new technology. How did you go about doing that?

It can be hard anytime you try to get staff to adopt new technology. So, what we had to do first was onboard as many carriers as possible to get up the percentages of loads being tracked on the platform. Then we worked with carriers consistently to be sure we had good numbers and show them that the platform worked. From there, we conducted training and seminars with key players in each business group.

Deployment only happens once the key players are feeling comfortable with the situation. I recommend you start small, making sure everyone understands how to use the tool before expanding it to more teams. The onboarding process with FourKites was the easy part but making sure you communicate the benefits with your carriers are the first step.

Q. Change management can be difficult with new tools and integration. How did you handle that when implementing FourKites?

We made a jump from 10 carriers on the platform to 300. And honestly, that was a fairly easy jump because we made sure to take our time with those first 10 so they went well. Once we knew how to do those first 10 successfully, it was much easier to scale it. But you need to have patience, so we certainly weren’t rushing through the process.

The key to change management is about understanding every side of the process and communicate throughout. From data to partners and carriers, the FourKites tool has helped us manage it all, because we’re all looking at the same information.

Since then, we’ve created videos and specific guided training to help new users get familiar with the tools quickly. That’s really happened as more teams request to have access to FourKites.

Q. FourKites’ value is often summarized as knowing where you shipment is, but it’s more than that. Can you tell us why collaborative visibility is so important to Tyson?

We really leverage the track and trace capabilities of the FourKites platform, which help us know exactly where everything is. You know, Tyson is laser focused on improving collaboration. The FourKites tools allow us to collaborate internally at all touchpoints in the supply chain process. It cuts down on unnecessary emails and phone calls, which closes gaps in communication and allows decisions to be made in real time.

Supply chain managers must optimize their staff resources to make sure warehouses run efficiently. Real-time visibility is key to making this happen and in turn makes us more attractive to customers.

Q. You mentioned unnecessary phone calls and emails. How have you noticed increased efficiency of your teams?

We’ve seen a big change in terms of how our teams are able to use their time. Team members who used to spend time managing emails or answering phone calls – or even missing calls – are now able to devote that time to other processes that are helping drive efficiencies. Moving forward, these approaches will be implemented in other areas as well. We’ll be focusing on things like dwell times, payments and more all through FourKites, knowing that email and phone traffic will continue to diminish while productivity increases.

Time is the number one commodity for any company and that’s always top of mind to us, so it’s a great relief that we have a lot less back and forth.

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As the need for faster, more efficient supply chain processes increased in 2020, Tyson Foods was ahead of the game thanks to their implementation of FourKites. We’re proud to help Tyson as the team works to get products to customers quickly and develop better relationships with their customers.

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