Shipper Case Study

Food manufacturer optimizes freight transportation model

When a food manufacturer was looking to optimize its freight transportation model, it turned to Schneider to provide a holistic multimodal transportation plan.


New multimodal transportation plan helps manufacturer become more strategic, cost-effective

In the early 1900s, a manufacturer of cereals, granola and other breakfast goods set out to help families thrive by providing them with nourishing foods. That mission is one of the only parts of the company’s operations that hasn’t changed over the last century. Today, the manufacturer is a Fortune 500 company with locations across the world, and advances in technology and infrastructure have drastically altered how it transports its products.

As the company recently looked for ways to streamline its logistics processes and gain efficiency, it realized it needed to overhaul its freight transportation model. Doing so could bring great rewards, such as cutting shipping costs and making better use of its limited storage space. However, the transportation model overhaul would need to be strategic – a drastic change to its shipping model could also be extremely risky for such a large operation. What if the transition caused a disruption in the company’s supply chain? What if the new transportation model didn’t work as smoothly as expected?

Time to overhaul: Manufacturer reorganizes its freight transportation model

The manufacturer ships its products throughout the United States and into Canada and Mexico. In its previous freight transportation model, it would ship products from its own distribution centers directly to its customers’ big-box retail stores. However, limited storage space would mean that product would often pile up as it waited for enough available trucks and drivers to haul it away.

To combat this, the manufacturer overhauled its transportation model. Now, its shipping process would consist of shipments from its own nine distribution centers right to its customers’ distribution centers. This transportation model would free up storage space while still keeping products moving. Additionally, the manufacturer would need extra capacity during certain times of the year when surges in business occurred.

The manufacturer knew it would need to be strategic in its logistics management for this new process to work. The company had worked with Schneider on projects before, so it reached out to see if the multimodal transportation provider could help during this transition period and beyond.

A fortified solution: Schneider brings in multimodal transport expertise to ensure success of the new transportation model

To ensure the success of the manufacturer’s new transportation model, Schneider provided an executive sponsor to lead the account. The executive sponsor would be the key contact for logistics management and guide the manufacturer to strategic solutions. They would identify areas of the manufacturer’s business to find opportunities to be more efficient. Then, the executive sponsor would pull together the resources within Schneider to make those solutions happen. With a single person overseeing the account, the manufacturer knew who to go to with questions or ideas, and the executive sponsor could oversee the Schneider team to ensure all was on track.

With Schneider’s help, the manufacturer devised a holistic multimodal transport solution that used the most appropriate mode of transportation to achieve the capacity requirements needed for specific lanes. The Schneider Van Truckload division handled freight transportation between the manufacturer’s distribution centers and the customers’ distribution centers. Its consistent drop-and-hook capacity across the manufacturer’s regular lanes meant that Van Truckload was equipped to deliver product to the customers’ distribution centers – and help get the products a little closer to consumers’ kitchens – on time.

The manufacturer’s headquarters are in central Michigan, an area that can be challenging to service via rail. However, Schneider had the drop-and-hook capacity available to make intermodal transportation a viable option. Because Schneider owns its chassis and containers, intermodal capacity wouldn’t be hindered by asset availability. These factors aligned to make it possible for the manufacturer to transport its freight among its own distribution centers. Schneider Intermodal would haul freight among the distribution centers, saving the manufacturer money on shipping freight that wasn’t extremely time sensitive.

The third player in the manufacturer’s new freight transportation model was Schneider Brokerage. This team was at the ready to bring in additional freight capacity as needed. Brokerage secured extra freight capacity during the transition between shipping models to ensure that no supply chain disruption occurred. As the manufacturer moved fully into its new freight transportation model, Schneider Brokerage continued to bolster the new shipping process. It offered supplemental capacity during surge times and gave the manufacturer more flexible capacity options when needed.

Teamwork pays off: New freight transportation model proves effective

The manufacturer seamlessly transitioned from a direct-to-store model to a distribution center to distribution center model. Working with Schneider allowed the manufacturer to achieve its goal of being more strategic in its shipping. Thanks to Schneider’s owned assets and multimodal transport services, the manufacturer can rest assured that it will have the capacity it needs on a day-to-day basis and during surges.

Overhauling its shipping model was a big risk, but it paid off in spades. Three Schneider teams united under the leadership of the executive sponsor to keep the manufacturer’s freight moving more efficiently:

  • Van Truckload delivered the manufacturer’s products to its customers’ distribution centers on time.
  • Intermodal gave the manufacturer the ability to transport products among its plants and distribution centers, including inbound freight from Mexico and Canada, without breaking the bank.
  • Support from Brokerage ensured that the manufacturer always had enough capacity, even during the unpredictability of the transition period between transportation models.

By working with a multimodal transportation provider like Schneider, the manufacturer was able to exceed expectations for deliveries to its customers. It also had a strong relationship with a team that could help the manufacturer continue to strategically optimize its freight transportation model. Now, a company with a more than 100-year-long history of providing its customers with the breakfast foods they love is in a good place to keep its products rolling into customers’ kitchens for the next century.

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Read more about how Schneider can help your business navigate food and beverage logistics at our food and beverage shipping services page

Published June 2019

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