Over the past decade, supply chains have only increased in complexity.
Relocating product or building new warehouses, potential diesel fuel shortages, and proposed legal mandates and regulations for emissions reduction have challenged logistics professionals’ traditional ways of thinking and initiated the urgent need for supply chain visibility, partnerships, and comprehensive strategies. To maintain a competitive advantage, they have shared their challenges and concerns with their trusted partners to develop innovative solutions that would advance their supply chain.
Network Intelligence emerged from these conversations as a solution to provide shippers with actionable benchmarking, best-fit carrier search capabilities, and the ability to uncover inefficiencies and strategic recommendations for improvement across the breadth and depth of their supply chain.
A Strategic Partnership that Uncovers Opportunities to Achieve and Exceed Goals
A modern beverage company that produces beer, energy drinks, ready-to-drink coffee, and more, was one of the shippers involved in early discussions that guided the development of Network Intelligence. They needed visibility to freight movements, exception management to concentrate on areas of opportunity, and a comprehensive dashboard to view pertinent information and promptly act. With these three criteria, the modern beverage company would be able to scale their transportation network to provide exceptional service to the customer, operate safely with better insights, and make progress toward their corporate sustainability targets.
In March 2022, the shipper partnered with Breakthrough’s Network Intelligence solution to deliver on their goals.
The modern beverage company implemented Breakthrough Fuel Recovery in November 2019 to reimburse their carrier partners with a market-based fuel reimbursement. The partnership broadened in March 2022 when they added Network Intelligence to their transportation network strategy. With this partnership, the modern beverage company has been able to aggregate disparate systems and operations into one central dashboard, helping them to identify synergies in their network, create greater transparency with carriers, and increase productivity. They have also been able to bring together procurement and operations for optimal efficiency and foster data-driven relationships with their carrier partners.
Actionable Recommendations Begin with Transparency
Within the first three months of using Network Intelligence, Breakthrough identified nine lanes in their transportation network with suboptimal carrier performance or partnership parameters. Breakthrough noticed a significant price variance with the same origin and destination pair, but in a different commodity. They shared their discovery and recommendation with the modern beverage company, who then had the decision to either reward the carrier who charged a fair price with the additional shipment volume or renegotiate the rate with the existing carrier who was above the industry benchmark on that lane. This opportunity revealed over $6 million in savings opportunities.
In another instance, the Breakthrough team flagged a frequent finished goods shipment that was more reasonable than a lighter load filled with unfilled cans. The fuel efficiency of the lighter load should have been higher than the heavier load, making the lighter load less expensive, but the opposite was true. With visibility to actionable transportation network data to support their claim, the modern beverage company again had the negotiating power to connect with their carrier partner to discuss the agreed-upon rate. These are two of the many recommendations where Network Intelligence identified and addressed lanes with inefficiencies and significant cost savings opportunities.
The Network Intelligence dashboard provides the modern beverage company with greater visibility to their transportation network. The dashboard provides data visualizations that trigger immediate action on a lane level. Visualizations include linehaul spend over linehaul savings, load tender performance, and lane performance to plan, to name a few. The Breakthrough team ensures the team is supported with the necessary data to determine which loads are priced below or above the industry benchmark, and where service levels meet or do not meet expectations.
Turning Transportation Network Aspirations into a Reality through Strategy Development and Initiative Execution
The modern beverage company continues to refine its transportation network strategy and lead the industry in strategic foresight. To guide their transportation strategy for 2023, they leveraged Network Intelligence’s strategy development and initiative execution component. In December 2022, they met with Breakthrough to share their general challenges and concerns, as well as projects for the short, medium, and long term where they would need additional support. From this strategy session, several projects were identified across warehouse, truckload and intermodal, rail, ocean, sustainability and across transportation systems to increase safety, service to the customer, and decarbonize their transportation network.
One project was optimizing inbound and outbound shipments at two repacking facilities –shortening the length of haul and reducing emissions output. This project included mapping existing routes, identifying which routes could be removed or improved, and recommending carrier partners that aligned with their network priorities at a competitive linehaul rate. Through this analysis, Network Intelligence optimized over 5,500 loads and reduced the lane count by over 130 lanes. The return on investment from this analysis was $4.1 million dollars in efficiency and cost savings.
The modern beverage company continues to connect with Breakthrough to execute the strategy developed as part of their Network Intelligence engagement. All projects are rooted in data analysis, market knowledge, and best practices to achieve department and wider corporate goals.
The Value of an Agile Transportation Network Strategy
The modern beverage company and Breakthrough partnership is rooted in collaboration toward a holistic transportation strategy. Bringing procurement and operations together for weekly readouts has proven valuable for the company. By designating time to connect between the two teams, they have uncovered further opportunities, created a plan for action, and made progress toward the overall goals of the company. The modern beverage company continues to find value in the recommendations and expert support delivered through Network Intelligence as they evolve its product portfolio and company.