The Mystery of CPG #X: How a CPG Shipper Partnered with the Premier Provider of Logistics Technology and Services to Deliver Enhanced Performance and Cost Improvement

“When I started in my role in 2018, our absolute on-time delivery was only 72%. We paid $24 million in fines with the majority due to missed on-time delivery, now it’s a totally different story. Indeed, in 2020, Mars Petcare’s absolute on-time delivery has improved by 18% with associated fines being significantly reduced.” says Chris Ginest, North American Transportation Manager for Mars Petcare.

With 85 years of experience, Mars Petcare is a growing segment of approximately 50 brands, made up of about 85,000 associates in more than 55 countries who serve the nutrition and health needs of dogs, cats, horses, fish and birds every day. Like many global consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, the internal departments within Mars Petcare have separate systems and processes. Issues with on-time delivery were further heightened when there was a lack of real-time visibility of their supply chain and logistics network. 

Mars Petcare selected Transplace as their logistics management and technology provider to leverage the Transplace Platform to lower overall cost-to-serve and dramatically improve on-time service to their retail customers.

Transplace Data Insights

Transplace Data Insights provides shippers of all sizes the ability to measure the performance of their network, benchmark themselves against similar shippers, and dig deep into the most critical key performance indicators that impact their logistics and transportation process. Legacy data management tools present challenges in timeliness, accuracy, and relevance. Data from payment providers or third-party sources are often outdated by the time they are made available to shippers. The details are difficult to get and comparisons nearly impossible. Additionally, relevant data related to routing guide and operational performance metrics are not available. Transplace Data Insights utilizes a network of over $11 billion across hundreds of shippers to provide partners with a new level of actionable information. 

One example of an industry first benchmark is the Transplace Supplier Performance Scorecard, a weekly, anonymized comparison of partner CPG shippers. The Transplace Supplier Performance report blends retailer data, shipper data, and data from the Transplace Platform to identify trends and best practices for shippers to improve their service and reduce retailer fines.

Mars Petcare has continued to lead on the weekly Transplace Supplier Performance Scorecard despite the challenges of COVID-19 lockdowns. Even in mid-March through early May, the world-class CPG maintained resilience and on-time delivery, catching the notice of other shippers in the benchmarking program. Because shipper data is anonymized, other CPG shipper partners would commonly ask, “Transplace, who is CPG X?”

Transplace asked CPG X if they wouldn’t mind sharing their identity. What resulted from the reveal was a webinar to spotlight Mars Petcare’s journey to improve on-time performance featuring Ginest and Jolynn McReynolds, Customer Care Account Manager at Mars Petcare. 

Scorecards and Business Reviews

“You only get what you measure,” says Ginest. 

Transplace and Mars Petcare conduct bi-weekly meetings with carriers, utilizing Transplace Data Insights carrier scorecards, to focus on the percentage of on-time deliveries, tender acceptance, and automation of carrier updates. The constant communication and continuous measurement support the ability to maintain SAMBC (service as measurement by customer). Scorecards clarify metrics and allow for faster corrective action.

In addition, Mars Petcare utilizes Transplace Data Insights network dashboards to identify changes in shipping patterns that may require capacity sourcing adjustments. Ginest uses the information with carriers to rebid key areas because he believes an annual bid must be evaluated regularly. Since a shipper’s business or their customers’ business are continually evolving, the original bid with a carrier will often change significantly over the course of a year. These routing guide adjustments result in greater collaboration between Mars Petcare and their carriers, and decrease reliance on high cost, short lead time spot market capacity. This means Mars Petcare has both improved service and reduced overall cost of transportation.

Mars Petcare also established key areas to measure logistics performance, including pickup and delivery timelines, SAMBC, and tender acceptance. Transplace Data Insights normalizes data from carriers, customer systems, and Mars Petcare to pinpoint problems in their logistics network. When on-time delivery doesn’t meet expectations, Transplace and Mars Petcare are able to dive deeply into the root causes of failure, identifying problems with transit times, order lead times, order day of week, issues at specific ship sites, problems at customer receiving locations, and many other potential problem areas. When the root cause is found, the teams can quickly apply best practices to mitigate failures.

Educating Teams

Based on learnings from the root cause analyses, Mars Petcare has established best practices and developed a digital handbook for carriers. Mars Petcare ensures their carriers and internal teams are clear on the expectations for on-time delivery. They also provide training for carriers to use customers’ portals to assist with delivery scheduling and rescheduling.

Mars Petcare is open about the customer fines and fees being charged when performance falls below expectations. Particularly for high-turnover positions, the carrier handbook and knowledge of the major costs of fines have resulted in more consistent performance.

Transplace and Mars Petcare have also standardized business processes including cut-and-ship decisions to mitigate on-time fines, prioritizing approved drop carriers at retailer receiving locations in their bid processes, and collaborating with retailer fleets for backhaul alignment.

Transplace Transportation Management System

Planning and root cause analysis is critical to improving performance, but logistics systems and daily execution is equally important. The Transplace TMS provides Mars Petcare and the Transplace team with the latest technology, a connected network of partners, and seamless exception management to keep their network moving. 

It starts with the Transplace Control Tower. All partners utilize a common platform to show the current status of every shipment in real time. Powered by advanced AI and machine learning, shipments are evaluated based on over 100 different criteria for on-time service risk. Transplace logistics managers identify at risk shipments over three times faster with AI, utilize risk reasons from the model to determine the cause, and take action to mitigate potential failures. Shipment location and status are updated in real time from multiple data sources, including carrier ELD’s, dispatch system API’s, and shipper system integrations. Collaboration with existing Transplace network partners eliminates timely manual processes, reduces email and phone call volumes, and allows the transportation teams to focus on improving processes and managing exceptions. For partners that don’t have direct access to the Transplace Control Tower, all relevant shipment information is available via the Transplace Public Tracking Portal, where interested parties can view delivery information and sign up for shipment notifications.

Transplace also utilizes process automation tools to speed up the transportation workflow and minimize manual process. Intelligent Carrier Assignment automates execution of the routing guide and maximizes primary tender acceptance. When the route guide does fail, the Transplace Freight Allocation application automatically solicits carrier capacity from approved carriers and ensures the best market price while securing reliable, committed carrier capacity instantly. Robotic Process Automation tools eliminate delivery appointment failures by scheduling shipments on retailer appointment applications, in line with customer requested delivery dates and on time business rules.

Transplace Marketplace

Transplace Marketplace provides shippers unparalleled access to partner shipper and carrier networks. Machine learning powers the Transplace Dynamic Continuous Moves program to match trucks delivering with loads shipping from a common market area. This reduces costs for carriers and shippers. For shippers with private and dedicated fleets, Transplace Lanehub matches static routing guide lanes with carrier delivery networks to reduce empty miles, improve service, and find unidentified synergies in shipper networks.

For Mars Petcare, Transplace’s technologies, services, and partnership have enhanced their overall supply chain strategy. Transplace Data Insights, Command Center, and Marketplace enables powerful analytics, benchmarking, and execution resulting in improved cost and on-time delivery.  It also gives Mars Petcare bragging rights to a job well done.

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