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Case study: Speeding up the supply chain

ShippersPublished on April 9, 2018

Learn how the leading private bottled water manufacturer (Bottled Water co.) in the United States increases the speed of their supply chain with Convoy’s innovative trucking services.

For most stores, the average order-to-shelf time is over 7 days for most of their beverage suppliers. For this private bottled water manufacturer, average order-to-shelf is just 3 days.

Ask any grocery store what the #1 selling item is, and they will all say the same thing: bottled water.

Bottled water consumption has increased 120% over the past 15 years. This increasing demand pushes Bottled Water co., the leading private label water manufacturer in the United States, to constantly drive improvements in their supply chain.

Bottled Water co. ships product to some of the largest retailers in the United States, some of whom demand near-perfection from their suppliers. In order to stand out as a top-performing supplier, Bottled Water co.’s business continues to invest in new supply chain technology and systems.

Why the leading private bottled water manufacturer partners with Convoy

Bottled Water co., facing off against some of the world’s biggest beverage brands, needs to find advantages in supply chain innovation in order to differentiate themselves. They use this innovation to both maximize the speed at which they can deliver goods to their customers, while also decreasing the cost of transportation.

For one regional grocery’s 350 stores, the average order-to-shelf time is over 7 days for most of their beverage suppliers. Bottled Water co.’s average order-to-shelf is just 3 days. Because of their ability to fulfill orders faster than ever before, demand for Bottled Water co.’s products continues to increase, with 23% annual growth over the past five years.

Bottled Water co. has partnered with Convoy, one of the world’s most innovative trucking companies, to help double the speed of their supply chain. This partnership helps Bottled Water co. achieve the following goals:

  • Improve their ability to ship products directly to customers from production facilities.
  • Gain access to valuable data that helps improve supply chain performance.
  • Avoid increasing costs typically associated with adding speed to transportation.

How Convoy helps Bottled Water co. reach these goals

Enabling more direct-to-shelf shipping

In the past, in order to make sure they could always fulfill customer orders, Bottled Water co. housed inventory at storage warehouses—a very common practice in the industry. But warehouse space is expensive and inefficient, creating more bottlenecks in the supply chain and requiring Bottled Water co. to utilize more transportation services. The overall impact of maintaining these facilities was millions of dollars a year spent inefficiently.

Today, Bottled Water co. uses Convoy’s flexible trucking capacity to avoid costly storage and warehouse fees. This strategy doubles the speed of their supply chain and decreases the number of trucks they need to schedule, greatly improving Bottled Water co.’s ability to fulfill customer orders on shorter timelines.

Visibility into each shipment

Because Convoy requires all carriers to use a mobile app to accept work, Bottled Water co. has visibility into each load’s progress. Throughout each step of the shipment, Convoy provides automatic updates, and real-time GPS.

From pickup to drop-off, it takes Bottled Water co. less than a few seconds to check in on their freight. This eliminates the need for time-consuming back-and-forth communication with traditional brokerages, saving time and money.

Real-time tracking enables Convoy to catch potential delays and minimize their impact. This cuts costly exceptions by more than 80% and allows Bottled Water co. to keep their customers up to date on delivery at all times.

Collecting the most valuable data insights

In order to make the most impactful supply chain optimizations, Bottled Water co. strategically collects and analyzes data. Convoy’s commitment to transparency and data sharing enables Bottled Water co. to create even more robust and useful optimization strategies.

These anecdotes offer valuable insight, allowing Bottled Water co. to take action to make sure all facilities perform at a high standard. Carriers are more willing to work with high-performing facilities, keeping the cost of sourcing trucks down.

With Convoy, Bottled Water co. has full access to accurate and actionable data. Convoy is able to collect metrics on each facility’s performance and provide this directly to Bottled Water co. These data points include load and unload times, and detention time paid by individual facilities, offering a clear view into performance trends at each location. Bottled Water co. uses these metrics to implement improvement plans to minimize facility-specific issues.

Convoy also allows drivers to leave feedback via the Convoy driver mobile application about each warehouse experience. Bottled Water co. can read hundreds of notes left by drivers about their time spent at the facility.

Bottled Water co. also saves money by analyzing the most cost-effective appointment times. While looking at the pricing data provided by Convoy, Bottled Water co. was able to optimize shipping appointments, resulting in significant cost savings.

Because these trends can shift at any time, real-time access to pricing changes makes it easy to adjust appointment and tender times. This allows Bottled Water co. to find the best rates through any season.

A 2014 McKinsey & Company report stated that supply chain issues are increasingly demanding senior executive attention. Bottled Water co. is on the forefront of optimizing supply chain performance, investing in innovative technology and services.

This is the best time for supply chain professionals to start investing in new technology partnerships. Increasing pressure from executive teams to improve supply chain operations, a more competitive landscape, and customers that demand faster, on-time delivery are just some of the reasons to invest now. Companies willing to look into new and modern technology to improve performance will see continued business growth.

“In this industry, it’s so important that we’re able to keep our customers’ shelves full. Convoy provides us with the trucking services needed to fulfill these orders faster than our competition, while at the same time helping us keep costs down.”— Direct to Store Operations Manager, Bottled Water Co.

Interested in learning more?

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We partnered with a customer to develop this story for publication to share insights and ideas with the industry but the names of the company and people have been changed to respect their privacy.


Brooks McMahon

Brooks McMahon is Vice President of Partnerships at Convoy, where he and his team are responsible for developing and growing strategic partnerships. Previously, Brooks served in a variety of senior management roles at companies including Marchex and Getty Images. Brooks earned an MBA from the University of Washington and a BS from Santa Clara University.
View more articles by Brooks McMahon