Inbound Logistics | January 2022


TMS Keeps the Presses Running

OVOL USA is one of the world’s largest suppliers of paper, pulp, and specialty substrates. Eric Krizay, the company’s vice president of corporate logistics, had been searching for a transportation management system (TMS) that would meet the unique needs of all the company’s divisions. At the same time, he needed a solution that was straightforward to implement and use.

THE CUSTOMER: From its start nearly a century ago, when entrepreneur Harry E. Gould Sr. noticed an opportunity to supply the growing greeting card industry with domestic and international paper, OVOL USA has grown into one of North America’s largest distributors of printing, publishing, and business paper. Now part of Japan Pulp and Paper, OVOL USA spans multiple divisions in North America and across the globe. THE PROVIDER: ShippersEdge, a Burnsville, Minnesota-based provider of multi-carrier shipping software and transportationmanagement systems. The company also offers API and EDI management and customprogramming. by Karen Kroll

The rst solution was too small and handled only domestic shipments. While the second was backed by one of the industry’s largest vendors, it was not user friendly. Employees had to navigate multiple clicks to complete many processes. The solution also was costly to operate and update; simply making a new bill of lading could run into thousands of dollars, Krizay says. Customer service also left much to be desired. Changing the way a function worked “took an act of Congress,” Krizay says. THE SEARCH IS ON Krizay looked for a solution that would offer visibility within the United States and overseas, and for shipments moving across ocean and air. It also needed to support all OVOL divisions, helping them operate as efciently as possible. After issuing a request for proposal, Krizay connected with about 20 companies. An arduous process, he notes, but implementing a TMS requires a substantial outlay of money and time, making thorough due diligence essential.

While many of OVOL USA’s divisions are in the paper business, they have “different requirements, different needs, different types of products, and different customers,” Krizay says. The divisions historically operated independently. Each generated its own prot-and-loss statement and handled its own purchasing and transportation, among other functions. This made achieving visibility across the enterprise, as well as economies of scale, more difcult. To start to remedy this, Krizay and his colleagues developed a central logistics division that was able to leverage OVOL’s buying power. The new structure succeeded in both lowering costs and freeing employees to spend more time building their businesses, rather than on administrative tasks. Finding a single TMS solution that would meet the needs of all divisions still proved challenging, however. In the approximately 10 years Krizay has been with OVOL USA, they’ve gone through three TMS solutions. “It has been like Goldilocks and the three bears,” he says.

January 2022 • Inbound Logistics 261

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