Warehouse / Distribution Manager learns not all logistics firms are created equal

Color-Dynamics-Case-StudyOpportunity

In business since 1922 and in its current location since 1986, ColorDynamics knows what it takes to stay in business. Their commitment to quality and service has earned them numerous awards. Their aim is to offer their clients the very best in quality printing and exceptional service.

ColorDynamics is a combination sheet fed and web commercial printer located in Allen, Texas. Their facility is state-of-the-art, from electronic prepress through bindery, digital printing, mailing and distribution. They service major design groups, advertising agencies and corporations throughout the country.

With their exceptional service has come growth. Rick Spratt, ColorDynamics’ Warehouse/Distribution Manager, recognized several years ago that he could use some outside shipping expertise to keep up with demand. “We hired a 3PL (Third Party Logistics company) to help us manage our freight costs, but we got burned.” After he discovered the 3PL was ‘floating’ their money (they were cashing ColorDynamics’ checks but delaying payment to the carriers), he quickly ended the relationship.

Challenge

With the bad experience behind him, Rick was understandably skeptical of engaging another logistics firm. A colleague of his suggested he give Broussard Logistics a meeting, but he was hesitant. In addition to being a non-asset based logistics firm, Broussard serves its 300+ client base by leveraging significant buying power, technology and market expertise. Still, one of Rick’s primary responsibilities was shipping – how could he be sure that Broussard wouldn’t eliminate his job?

By the same token, Rick knew he could use some added expertise. ColorDynamics commitment to service had led them to begin scheduling shipments through EDI. This had led in one case to between 5,000-8,000 small packages drop-shipped between Mondays and Thursdays over a 2-week period. Do we have the systems in place to keep up?

After a little research, he decided to at least give them a meeting. “I could immediately tell they were not a fly-by-night operation – they had been in business nearly 30 years,” Rick acknowledged. “In our first meeting, I got a glimpse of the technology that would be available to me. After seeing the software in action, I could immediately see the power to streamline operations in accounting and other departments.”

Solution

Much like ColorDynamics’ philosophy of business, Broussard Logistics believes in being very clear about expectations and then always meeting or exceeding them. “They made it clear they will bid our shipping needs and give us recommendations, but they won’t make us do business with carriers that we don’t want to – we are still in control. And they have lived up to that commitment.”

Rick added, “It has been clear to me that they are not here to take my job, but here to make it easier. They take the details like LTL billing errors or accounting inconsistencies out of my daily routine. I still have the visibility and management oversight with the click of a mouse.” Broussard’s process allowed Rick to manage the exceptions, rather than try to reconcile literally thousands of shipping documents. “The bill paying process was one of our biggest headaches. Accounting had four documents they were trying to reconcile with each shipment. The problems came to me. Just the physical limitations cost us time and money – the accounting office was on the other end of a 300,000 square foot building.”

“Broussard Logistics’ management reporting and online Rate Shopper, which consolidates all the quotes and equalizes the requirements, made enormous differences in streamlining our internal processes and systems.” What about those 5,000 – 8,000 drop-shipped packages? “Broussard performs service failure audits and tracking for us on them.”

As to why other warehouse & distribution managers would feel threatened by bringing on Broussard Logistics as a partner, Rick simply responds: “Ignorance about what they can bring to the table. They are not here to take my job, but help me do it better.”