May 14, 2023

Simmons Foods’ Approach to Transportation Spend


On April 4th, Kyle Masters – the senior manager of transportation procurement at Simmons Foods, participated in a webinar hosted by Emerge. The webinar focused on Simmons Food’s approach to transportation procurement.

Simmons Foods, and its affiliates, are suppliers of poultry, pet, and animal nutrition products. This family-owned business is headquartered in Siloam Springs Arkansas in the US. Simmons Foods has a little over $100 million in transportation spend spread across dedicated contract carriers, a private fleet, and brokers. The transportation team supports 13 production facilities. The company moves 46,000 shipments per year using dry van, temperature controlled, hoppers, live haul, and other trucks as well.

When Mr. Masters joined the company in August of 2020, the company had three business units each using its own carriers. Mr. Masters joined when the company had started to create an enterprise approach to transportation. Mr. Masters quickly determined that a procurement event was necessary just to set a baseline. He ran a network RFP (request for proposal) event. This event taught Simmons Foods just how fluid their network was (and still is). 30% of the carriers they ended up working with had not been working with them the year previously. Further, customers buying patterns were so variable, that 30% of the lanes they procured freight for were new to the network.

This procurement event was occurring during COVID “when spot rates were going through the roof and capacity was declining weekly. Really, in 2021 we were hanging on for dear life,” Mr. Masters said. “Less than half of our routes were successfully going through a routing guide. The other half we were begging” carriers to take the loads. “We did not have a great spot tool.”

This webinar highlighted how Simmons Foods worked with Emerge to create a more agile procurement process, reduce rates, and benchmark the rates they were getting. Emerge offers an innovative freight procurement platform.

Mr. Masters had a number of interesting things to say. One takeaway is that just because you can use a tool like Emerge to drive transportation savings, that does not mean cost should be the deciding factor. Simmons Foods wants to create long-term partnerships with key carriers. See the Video HERE.



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