Make Every Penny Count

Companies are reigning in logistics costs. Here's five that are putting money in the bank.


Since its initial rollout in September 2004, Reliable has realized savings and improvements in several areas, including driver productivity and customer service. For example, the company can more accurately track driver time and activities from arrival in the morning to the end of their shift. This has led to ways to improve productivity. Also, making adjustments in real-time has lightened the load of the customer service department.

The new customer service capabilities include single-call customer service resolution, faster response times through real-time delivery visibility and exceptions management, two-way communications with drivers and Web browsing capabilities.

Reliable reports that the service is delivering benefits and meeting ROI estimates. "We have gained real-time visibility into our delivery cycle without any capital cost expenditure," says Priaulx. "With'in a matter of weeks, we were improving bottom line results."

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated
Reducing Inventory: The Real Thing

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC) is the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, with selling regions in 11 states and a consumer base of more than 18 million people.

Despite its size, the Charlotte, NC-based company had to address the classic problem facing the soft drink business: namely, volatility in demand.

Due to frequent promotions, changes in seasons and changes in price, it was challenging to maintain efficiency and reduce inventory. Such conditions made it difficult to grow the business and continue to provide first-rate customer service.

CCBCC decided to develop a strategy to optimize corporate-level forecasts to create collaborative consensus forecasts that extend to the SKU level. The forecasts would be shared each week with teams from field sales and trade marketing.

To carry out this strategy, the bottler selected a collaborative demand management solution from Manugistics Inc., Rockville, MD. The Web-based application enables CCBCC to streamline and centralize its forecasting across its enterprise.

The solution takes into account sales history, new product introductions, price plans, promotions, local events, feedback from sales managers on forecasts and adjustments.

Previously, the company could consider only 12 weeks of sales history, and had a forecast horizon of just four weeks. The solution increased the sales history to 104 weeks and the forecast horizon to 17 weeks. There is now daily''as opposed to weekly''replenishment, load building and SKU inventory counts.

According to Manugistics, the bottler is better able to model promotional lift. This leads to having the right amount of inventory on hand to meet demand that fluctuates because of promotions.

The results have been dramatic due to real-time visibility and a forecast accuracy of nearly 90 percent. The bottler improved its supply planning and reduced inventory by 25 percent to 50 percent. A production schedule that was fixed for a week to 10 days is now only three days.

For CCBCC, a collaborative demand solution is the real thing.

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