Background: Polymer manufacturer aims to grow regional business
The largest manufacturer of polyacrylamides in the world supplies large water treatment plants in the Northeast (including the boroughs of New York City) with a polymer. The manufacturer sought to increase product accessibility and shorten lead times in the region.
Situation: Timely pickup difficult with tight capacity market in the south
The manufacturer was using bulk over-the-road and intermodal services to move polymers from its headquarters in Riceboro, Ga., to the Northeast. Once the product arrived in the Northeast, the company contracted a private third-party rail tank car yard for tank lease, storage and product transfer.
Water treatment plants require polymers at a moment’s notice in order to quickly treat water and meet the ebb and flow of supply and demand. The polymer manufacturer hoped to win more business with water treatment plants in the Northeast, but it was having difficulty meeting the demands of its existing customers – primarily because of the fact that the product was being sourced from the South and its customers don’t often provide much notice when product is needed.
Additionally, the tight driver capacity market applied more pressure on the manufacturer, as inconsistent over-the-road tank truck volume being delivered to the South resulted in delayed pickup times for many of the company’s loads.
The polymer manufacturer required a solution that would bring product more reliably and efficiently to the Northeast and enable quicker delivery of its product to the boroughs of New York City. The manufacturer knew that if it could accomplish these two goals, it would be able to win more business in the area.
Schneider's solution: combine Bulk Drayage with Intermodal
Schneider suggested Bulk Intermodal to complement its over-the-road service. Schneider Bulk, a combination of intermodal and over-the-road, offers the most long-haul capacity in the chemical market.
Schneider provides drayage of bulk 40-foot intermodal containers from the company’s manufacturing headquarters in Georgia to the rail ramp. From there, the products are moved via the railroad in Schneider’s bulk intermodal containers to ramps near the final destination, where they are stored on-site at Schneider’s facilities. Schneider local drayage then quickly fulfills the orders within a day’s notice, loading the product and delivering it to the manufacturer’s customers.
By staging product in this way, the polymer manufacturer is able to reduce cost and, more importantly, meet its customers’ needs. Because the product is stored in Schneider’s bulk intermodal containers instead of tank cars, the manufacturer has reduced the number of tank cars it leases. Plus, it avoids the hefty demurrage charges that the railroads charge for holding onto those valuable tank cars. In addition, using Schneider’s Bulk Intermodal service means more over-the-road drivers are now available to the manufacturer for shorter distance loads – another important capacity gain.
Results: Customer increases business four-fold
Schneider’s innovative, proven solution yielded excellent results for the polymer manufacturer, including:
- Enabled the manufacturer’s ability to deliver a higher level of service to its customers, which has increased the manufacturer’s business in this area fourfold
- Made it possible to store three different products in 10 containers (those become available for new loads every three to four days)
- Delivered a 95 percent customer on-time delivery rate
- Increased from three loads per month to 40
- Freed up the third-party tank cars to haul more loads
Because of Schneider’s proven, creative Bulk Intermodal staging solution, the polymer manufacturer is no longer struggling to meet demand in a lucrative market. Instead, its delivery operation is running like a well-polymered machine – saving the manufacturer loads of money and winning over new customers left and right.
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