Bekaert Corporation is a global steel wire manufacturer that operates five U.S. facilities. North American Logistics Manager Maurizio Pardetti recently spoke about the company’s transition to a collaborative transportation management platform, citing that the company was able to significantly cut its transportation costs by implementing Transporeon Dock Scheduling.
When did Bekaert begin using the Transporeon collaborative transportation platform?
Bekaert Corporation in the U.S. was introduced to Transporeon in late 2015, but we’ve actually been doing business in Europe for many years. Our group in the U.S. determined that there was a need to introduce a TMS with the functionality to better manage the centralized transportation aspects of our business. All five manufacturing facilities are now using the Transporeon dock scheduling management system. We manage the dock scheduling and the transportation arrangements from one central location in Rogers, Arkansas, for about $30 million in freight.
What were scheduling processes like before implementing Transporeon dock scheduling and how have they improved?
In the past, each individual plant was responsible for their own logistics, be it negotiating rates with transportation companies, dock scheduling or other activities. Our carriers were used to receiving emails and getting phone calls from us—they were just used to working things in a very antiquated, manual way.
Since we’ve introduced Transporeon, some benefits have started to show. It definitely helps our teams in each shipping facility better plan. They can clearly see what the dock schedule is for the next day. Some are limited on staff and have to bring in support to meet certain volumes per day since our shipping schedule is very volatile throughout the week and month, so if they know ahead of time—and they would by looking at the dock schedule—they can clearly plan for that.
The time slots themselves are set up to match shipping capacity. For example, in our Van Buren, Arkansas, facility, they’ve changed the time slot schedule three times in the last four months. They’ve adjusted for peaks in volume, they’ve adjusted for manning and other activities. So in every case we have to match our slots to match their staffing, but it’s actually quite easy to do, it doesn’t take much to change the schedule as needed and to adjust accordingly.
How has the dock scheduling system helped with detention fees?
Detention charges are definitely easier to validate and sometimes even easy to reject. Because the dock-scheduled appointment is going to be the indicator of time that your free time starts, if trucks arrive after the assigned appointment or before the assigned appointment and you have no dock, the truck becomes a work-in and its time would not start until it’s backed into that dock. Generally speaking, once trucks are backed into the dock, they’re in and out in an hour, so detention is less likely. In the past, because we’ve been a first-come-first-serve organization at most locations, a truck would arrive on site and we’d immediately start running the clock. Therefore, it’s definitely helped with the detention charges overall.
It’s very visual, very easy to see, whereas with our established SAP ERP system it’s just columns and rows and it’s hard to fully get an idea of what you’re dealing with on a daily basis.
How has it impacted your customers?
When Transporeon is fully integrated with our SAP system, it will allow us to create alerts that will give us the ability to report, not only our on-time delivery percentages, but our on-time pickup percentages. We have several just-in-time, tier-one customers that we supply and a lot of our future business is contingent on our delivery performance. Obviously it starts with pickup. If they’re not showing up on time for pickup, it will impact our delivery performance.
Were there other Transporeon options that you’ve implemented at Bekaert?
We’re utilizing load tender management, both the no-touch process and the offer process, we’re utilizing reporting and we’re utilizing the pricing tables. We have basically eliminated annual bids with all our carriers. We allow the carriers to do perpetual bidding because the managing of the prices in the price table and the allowance for us to tender through the no-touch process is quite easy. Overall we’re utilizing most everything that Transporeon offers and we’re seeing a huge benefit of it this year. Comparatively speaking to last year, our overall cost of freight in terms of year over year spend, we’re seeing approximately a 40% overall savings year over year for most of the lanes that we manage, so it’s been very beneficial for us.