Pool Party

Carrier capacity is not an issue for Chef Solutions' Tim Egan, who is using pool distribution to handle tough delivery cycles.


Weber Distributing, Santa Fe Springs, CA, is the pool distributor for all of Chef Solutions' shipments in California and Nevada. Because product is cross--docked and never placed in static storage in Weber's warehouses, Chef Solutions avoids many of the costly warehouse storage, labor, temperature control and insurance costs, says Carl Neverman, Weber's vice president of client solutions.

"We're reducing warehousing costs, but we also have a team in place that knows them and their products well, and we've been able to set up a sailing schedule for them," Neverman says. "Their customers have regular days that they submit orders and receive products, and that regular schedule is good for them too."

Lanter Distributing, a division of Nashville, TN--based Ozburn--Hessey Logistics, is another large pool distributor for Chef Solutions. The 3PL handled more than 2,750 pooled salad shipments for Chef Solutions last year on its way to being named the company’s "LTL/Pool Carrier of the Year" for 2004.

"Lanter Distributing and [Ozburn--Hessey] have brought us quantifiable results that include a 3 percent improvement in on--time delivery based on scheduled and requested appointments. They also have helped us lower our overall logistics costs by helping us reduce multiple--stop TL and irregular route LTL that we utilized heavily before redesigning our distribution network," says Egan. "In addition, we were able to smooth production and distribution schedules and reduce finished goods inventories."

Lanter, and other 3PLs, are gaining a lot more pool distribution business of late. "Many shippers used to do pool distribution and are now getting back to that," says Bob Brendel, business division manager at Lanter, which specializes in LTL shipments. "They're realizing savings in dollars and increased capacity."

More Dedicated

The same is true for dedicated contract carriage business, where a 3PL guarantees a set number of trucks and drivers along a specific route or shipping lane under a pre--negotiated contract with the shipper. Though only about 5 percent of all U.S. shippers use dedicated fleets, this industry segment is definitely growing.

"We're seeing a lot of customers now with dedicated fleets for all or part of their operations, and it gives them better efficiencies in running their logistics and filling trucks better," adds Transplace's Sanderson. "At Transplace, we're doing a lot in retail, with some very large retailers."

Family Dollar Stores, Matthews, NC, is one such retailer. More than 750 dedicated trucks from 21 contracted truckload carriers and three national and regional LTL carriers offer Family Dollar a cost--effective means of providing service to its 5,650 stores in 44 states and eight distribution centers, including one consolidation center in Jersey City, NJ, says Raina Avalon, director of transportation operations at Family Dollar.

Martin Transport, Kilgore, TX, is Chef Solutions’ largest dedicated carrier. Using Martin and the other dedicated carriers in his stable, Egan says his internal transportation costs are much lower. "Administratively, we don’t need people calling around to get carriers, and it gives us a little more clout when it comes to rate negotiations because of the savings we get for them," he states. "If they know they have one of our routes ahead of time, they can better secure backhauls."

Frito--Lay, the Plano, TX--based snack foods division of PepsiCo, is another firm believer in dedicated carriers. Last year, Exel handled more than 7,750 dedicated shipments for Frito--Lay, and posted a 97 percent on--time delivery rate to Frito--Lay's plants, distribution centers, co--packers and grocery suppliers.

Exel is just one of 16 dedicated carriers that manage freight through Frito--Lay's Logistics Communications Center (LCC) in Plano. Exel has been a core carrier for Frito--Lay since the Plano facility opened in 2000.

"Exel's superior management of our loads reinforces our position as customer of choice in the carrier industry," says Tim Franklin, Frito--Lay's LCC manager. "The company's long--standing relationships with our suppliers and vendors serve as a positive extension of our brand and deliver cost savings resulting from purchasing power for the best transportation lanes at competitive prices."

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