Shipper — Case Study
A building materials supplier needed help delivering large volume freight on flatbed trailers. Schneider stepped in to help keep the supplier’s products moving safely and efficiently to their destinations, creating a stable supply chain.
Construction is a more than $1.29 billion business in the United States that literally shapes the country, expanding neighborhoods and changing city skylines. It’s also an industry that, like many others, lives and dies by its deadlines. Contractors and builders can’t afford setbacks due to their building material shipments being delayed.
One supplier of building materials is dedicated to ensuring that transportation-related issues don’t prevent contractors and their crews from having access to all the nails, screws, fasteners, roofing, insulation and other materials they need.
Just when the supplier began to think that was easier said than done, it found the dedicated carrier solution it had been searching for – hiding in plain sight.
The building materials supplier imports a high volume of products – more than 20,000 ocean containers worth per year – to ship to building supply dealers, distributors and retailers throughout the United States.
All shipments begin at one of the company’s 34 distribution centers, where they are palletized and shipped via flatbed trailer. Drivers make multiple stops on each run, unloading individual orders at each stop.
The company’s previous dedicated carrier was having difficulty accommodating such a large volume of freight and such frequent shipments. Often, there were more shipments to move in a day than there were available drivers to haul them. The company would resort to shipping customers’ orders via less-than-truckload shipments – a much costlier option.
On top of that, the previous flatbed carrier had no freight tracking capabilities, so the building materials supplier didn’t have the visibility required to provide its customers with updates on the progress of their orders.
Without freight tracking, the company was at risk of a damaged reputation and a potential loss of sales if it wasn’t able to ensure that customers received their orders on time.
The supplier knew its new dedicated carrier would act as a brand ambassador, which meant it was imperative to find a shipping provider that would share its commitment to safe transportation.
Schneider Dedicated was serving the company as a flatbed carrier at two of its distribution centers in Indianapolis and Detroit, and the company was impressed, not only by Schneider’s large network of driver and equipment resources, but also by Schneider’s commitment to safety.
Recognizing the alignment in core values and the commitment to safety that the company required, the building materials supplier asked Schneider to step in as a dedicated carrier for 20 of its 34 distribution centers, replacing its largest incumbent fleet.
Because the supplier’s products are strapped down and moved on flatbed trucks, there is a higher risk for damage, should the freight come loose than with other types of transportation. Yet Schneider’s record proved that safe transport via flatbed trailers was possible. In Indianapolis, the Schneider fleet experienced zero Department of Transportation (DOT) preventable accidents in the past two and a half years.
Schneider provided a Dedicated solution that would safely and efficiently keep the company’s products moving. The solution was rolled out in two phases to ensure a smooth transition.
The first phase focused on coordinating the right number of dedicated drivers at each distribution center. Thanks to its nationwide network of drivers, Schneider had the required number of drivers at its fingertips. The challenge, however, was organizing the 137 drivers and five regional directors of operations, who would oversee the drivers, around the supplier’s 20 distribution centers. Schneider utilized a “war room” to streamline the coordination process and was able to have every associate in place within two months.
In the second phase, Schneider implemented the new technologies necessary to plan the routes for the large volume of freight that the company was shipping. The technology would give the supplier the freight tracking abilities it needed, so that it could have a clear idea of how many stops a driver could realistically make within a day, allowing better planning and management of customer expectations.
Schneider was able to smoothly transition into its role as the supplier’s dedicated carrier and as an ambassador for the company. Schneider has decades of experience working with many of the retailers that sell the supplier’s products, so its customers were already comfortable working with the trucking company. This level of trust and familiarity is an asset for any shipper, but it is especially valuable for companies shipping large volume freight via flatbed trailers.
With an impressive record of safe transport, no matter the mode, and a company culture committed to safety, the Schneider Dedicated fleet is a reliable extension of the supplier’s business. The supplier now rests assured that its customers receive the products – and in turn, so do the contractors, builders and crews who need them – safely and on time. Together, Schneider and the supplier have constructed a flatbed shipping solution that gets customers what they need to get their projects done right.
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