Bemis Manufacturing Company’s Sheboygan Falls location is the major North American distribution hub for all of its proprietary products. But getting its products to various regional markets required enormous amounts of time and manual labor for determining the best routing options. The company’s original scheduling system, built to handle the transportation realities of 15-20 years ago, had provided Bemis with a competitive advantage in years past, but was now falling behind current business needs.
Bemis’ network required five individuals to perform routing analysis and planning, taking into account multiple locations, carriers, along with factors like LTL versus truck load stop-off and many other data points. This led to huge variations and calculations for any one plan or date.
“We’d been manually routing our freight and the number of iterations to accomplish pool consolidation,” said Keith Bassuener, manager of distribution and logistics at Bemis Manufacturing Company. “But we knew we were leaving money on the table. We needed a TMS to help us automate the planning, plus take into account data points like fuel surcharges and intermodal rates, which have become extremely important in recent years. We needed to be able to take full advantage of the work we’ve done to provide a good carrier base and good rates.”
Bemis Manufacturing chose the feature-rich, flexible 3Gtms 3G-TM transportation management system (TMS). “3Gtms knew our operations and we liked the fact that the TMS was oriented toward pool consolidations,” explained Bassuener. “It’s the core, principled system that moves us every day.”
A Tier 1 TMS, 3G-TM increases productivity by improving shipment efficiency and communications; reducing freight cost; increasing shipment visibility; and providing greater financial transparency. Using sophisticated optimization algorithms, actual rate cost, along with a comprehensive set of data points such as fuel components, stop-off charges, bridge charges and more, the TMS determines and delivers the best plan that can be realistically executed. In addition, its intuitive user interface allows Bemis to graphically view the different loads, making it easy to make modifications or handle exceptions.
With 3G-TM, Bemis can create a game plan each day for its distribution network. “We take the TMS’ plan and massage it as necessary, but it gives us a starting point on which can base our entire operations,” said Bassuener. “Now that so much is automated, we use less manpower to accomplish the planning tasks. Instead, we can get back to what we need to do, which is sign up and monitor effective carriers.”
With 3G-TM, Bemis is able to consolidate and take the line haul part of the routing equations – the profit center for carriers – and make the most out of it. “This makes the price point for our distribution network lower than our competition’s and the industry’s average,” said Bassuener.
Bemis has also taken advantage of 3G-TM’s functions for experimenting with different calculations and options. Within the test environment, Bemis can determine the impact of potential network changes, such as when a carrier updates its rates or when a new carrier is introduced into the equation.
Bassuener concluded, “3Gtms has taken the most important part of our business – where we spend the largest percentage of our budget – and has allowed us to take full advantage of each carrier’s service so our customers get the order when they need it.”