Inbound Logistics | July 2022

already helpful in notifying AT-PAC of potential geo-political issues that could affect its supply chain, Cann says.

nd the optimal shipping solution for every order, says Damien Bradford, director of operations at Rakuten.

Generally, AT-PAC would tackle this challenge by leveraging the volume of business it offers, hoping that would bring the steamship lines to the table. During the past few years, however, AT-PAC had to move to spot rates. “The price, cost, and availability of capacity was at the discretion of the forwarders,” Cann says. By working with Gebrüder Weiss (GW) USA, AT-PAC obtained a solid mix of pricing and services. As important, its goods would move, rather than sit on the dock waiting for a discounted rate that some other logistics providers would promise, but that wasn’t going to materialize. “The level of service and mix of products from GW is great,” Cann says. One challenge in working with spot rates for a company like AT-PAC is that a project might be bid out, but then its start would be delayed for several months. The freight rates could change, sometimes signicantly. “We worked with GW to develop educated estimated rates that took into consideration potential supply chain disruptions,” Cann says. “We had to be conservative with such freight estimates, but it helped us to take some risk out of the situation we found ourselves in.” In addition, when projects were delayed or rates changed, AT-PAC worked with GW and its own customers to ensure no entity was operating in the red. “They’ve been collaborative,” Cann says. The transparency GW provides also is key. “It’s not just general information on shipments, but on the actual situations,” Cann says. This became even more important during COVID lockdowns in Shanghai, he adds. AT-PAC is currently implementing GW’s vendor management tool, which offers data visibility and shows how the timing of raw material sourcing, production planning, and supplier delivery performance affects the overall health of the supply chain, says Michael Crandall, vice president of sales with Gebrüder Weiss USA. While AT-PAC is still implementing this solution, the Risk Chain module is

director of operations with Rakuten.

ACCELERATING DELIVERY TIMES Coyote Logistics and SunOpta Among the logistics challenges facing SunOpta, a provider of plant- based and organic foods, beverages, and ingredients, have been an increase in its transportation base rate that wasn’t fuel-related, as well as a drop in on-time pickup and deliveries. “Both of these items are signicant stand-outs,” says Art Nourot, senior director, logistics, with the Minneapolis- based company. To help SunOpta meet these challenges, Chris Davis, senior manager of Coyote Transportation Management with Chicago-based Coyote Logistics, and his team remained in continual contact with SunOpta’s carrier network, customer service team, vendors and even end customers. This way, they could identify issues and propose solutions that would boost service and cut costs, Davis says. They also leveraged Coyote’s market insights and dense carrier network, while collaboratively addressing problems. “The results include improved service, an expansion of our carrier base, increased intermodal utilization, decreased CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, and rate stabilization with some cases of improvement,” Nourot says. Coyote Logistics also provides a signicant level of data analytics that otherwise would be unavailable or very difcult for SunOpta to secure on its own, he says. n

EXPANDING THE MENU Rakuten Super Logistics and “Our supply chain has been in a constant state of volatility,” says Jay Tannenbaum, chief executive ofcer of Headlights Depot, a provider of quality, affordable automotive safety products. Inconsistent lead times for manufacturing and transit have made the balancing act between out-of-stock and over-stock extremely challenging, he says. In addition, container shipping costs jumped—in some cases, by a factor of ve. “We must make constant adjustments to our sales prices to combat this and maintain a fair margin while still meeting a fair market price,” Tannenbaum says. “Current supply chain challenges are keeping us on our toes.” Rakuten Super Logistics, a third- party e-commerce fulllment company, has helped strategically manage inventory across its network of warehouses to optimize space and minimize storage costs. In 2021, added four fulllment warehouses to its network; the company is now in nine Rakuten warehouses. “This allowed us to provide better service through reduced transit days as well as lower outbound shipping costs,” Tannenbaum says. Headlights Depot currently is piloting Rakuten’s Xparcel shipping technology. This solution shops for the best combination of price and service across national, regional, and local carriers to

136 Inbound Logistics • July 2022

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