How Nestlé is using real-time visibility to manage supply chain disruptions

Re-publishing of a case study released by our partner Sixfold


Historically, Nestlé’s transport operations and carrier management have been decentralized, with various countries and business units being responsible for tendering, contracting, and daily operations. This has resulted in several challenges such as duplication of efforts, varying prices and service levels, and lack of visibility. Nestlé therefore made a concerted effort to optimize transportation with real-time visibility a critical capability to realizing major improvements such as decreasing cost, reducing CO2 emissions, improving service-levels, and optimizing internal operations.

An excellent example of how digital technology can help us address today’s challenges”  

Sergio Scarcerieau, Zone EMENA Transport Transformation Lead at Nestlé 


Specifically, Nestlé has been aiming to:

  • Reduce transportation costs across Europe
  • Enhance environmental sustainability through CO2 emissions reduction
  • Improve management of carrier landscape & quality of service
  • Increase customer satisfaction through proactive information & real-time visibility


Solution - The Approach

How Nestlé stays ahead with real-time visibility

Centrally coordinating transport management and rolling out Sixfold was the first big step. The ready-to-use cloudbased solution and quick onboarding of the most important carriers allowed Nestlé to quickly unlock the benefits of real-time visibility.

Predictive ETA information and live tracking of trucks, which are shown in the control tower, are only two examples of features that immediately generated value and enabled Nestlé to gain an overview of its transport network in real-time.

The following real-time visibility features are particularly helpful at achieving its goals:

  • Predictive ETAs & real-time statuses of individual transports to make data-driven decisions
  • Holistic overview of all transport activity to optimize transport operations across Europe at a glance
  • Smart dashboard to focus on exceptions that need attention
  • Reporting & analytics to gain insights on aspects such as quality of service, carrier performance, or CO2 emissions

Not only does real-time visibility help Nestlé to optimize standard processes and operations, it also provides insights that Nestlé’s supply chain needs in order to react to any kind of situation in a flexible and informed way, especially in times of disruption.

The importance of supply chain visibility in times of disruption

A significant example of a major supply chain disruption is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The required restrictions to combat COVID19 on public gatherings and individual travel in addition to increased border controls and closures have impacted cargo flows while curbing the spread of the virus. Moreover, both consumer demand and demand for commercial transportation shifted rapidly, driven by the increasing lockdown of businesses in various industries and the restriction of social activities. All of this, of course, is also impacted the supply of cargo capacity. Nestlé quickly understood the seriousness of the situation and utilized real-time visibility in various ways to remain in control, even during this significant disruption:

  • Focus on data & facts: At first, the pace and volatility of the situation caused uncertainty among the staff but it was quickly curtailed by focusing attention on exceptions that could be identified using real-time data & predictive insights
  • Understand stops & wait times: The disruptions lead to longer dwell times, congestions at crucial points such as ports, and irregular stops due to lockdowns, were better understood with clear visualizations and analyses
  • Consider border disruptions: Closures and uncertain situations at border crossings made planning and execution difficult. Actual wait times at borders derived from Sixfold’s real-time and predictive data helped to (re-)plan transports.


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Improved service levels and customer satisfaction

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Decrease in manual operational resources needed to identify and handle transport journeys

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Increased stability of the supply chain (enabling Nestlé to react more flexible and resilient in times of disruption)

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Improved supply-chain efficiency, including environmental sustainability, based on visibility