“We also wanted to create a tool that would enable visibility to overall performance reporting whether operational or financial. So whether we were shipping bananas, salads, or raw products for our salad business, we wanted to be able to identify our financial and performance reporting metrics and focus all of that through one solution,” says Shephard.
Having all data funneled into one central location helps assess carriers’ transportation performance. “We can keep track of our costs for a particular carrier throughout our network, opposed to working under a fragmented approach,” Shepherd explains. What used to be a time-consuming effort to figure out the company’s on-time performance delivering particular products is now available immediately at one source. This equips the company’s sales force with important data when they visit customers.
Recognizing the potential in collaborating with other shippers as a means to decrease transportation costs, Chiquita is actively working with a select group of companies to expand these opportunities. “From an efficiency standpoint and from an environmental perspective, the more we can look to collaborate and work with other shippers, linking their networks with ours to identify efficiencies, the more we can benefit our operational optimization as well as those of other shippers and the carriers,” explains Shepherd.
Chiquita leveraged the value of its single TMS and now contracts with CASS Information Systems to automate the payment process for all carriers throughout the network, eliminating the need for invoicing. Shepherd reports that the company definitely exceeded its payback expectations.
“These are challenging economic times for everyone. The efficiencies we’ve gained by having full network visibility for all of our customer orders have enabled significant routing, communication, and equipment utilization benefits for both Chiquita and our carriers,” says Shepherd.
One further benefit of the new single TMS solution is that it creates a platform to enable Chiquita to assimilate new distribution opportunities.
“As we introduce new products, we wanted to have a TMS that was robust enough to be able to bring these new products beyond our traditional network,” Shepherd says. “This ability could also allow us leverage in the event of an acquisition. So as we grow and seek out new channels, we have the right tool to allow us to respond to the needs of a changing or expanding market. Identifying a single TMS with this capacity was an important part of the overall decision process for us.”