In 2018, Plaskolite, a global manufacturer of engineering thermoplastics used in windows, doors, point-of-purchase displays, and other products, made five acquisitions, more than doubling the size of the company. “We weren’t going to be able to take on the logistics functions we needed, with only the logistics department we had,” says Drew Lester, director of supply chain with the Columbus, Ohio based firm.
The company’s leadership team decided to outsource its freight function. That’s when Plaskolite connected with ODW Logistics, also based in Columbus. Among other initiatives, ODW analyzed every facet of Plaskolite’s transportation function.
For instance, Plaskolite had been doing well in the LTL market, but adding ODW’s access to the truckload and broker networks, “gave us a leg up because we had more intelligence and resources,” Lester explains. In addition, Plaskolite began consolidating orders—a shift for a company that placed a priority on customer service. “The customer would tell us when they wanted an order and Plaskolite would get it there by then,” Lester says.
However, it had become clear that sending multiple smaller shipments was no longer optimal for either Plaskolite or its customers, given tightened transportation capacity, higher costs, and greater awareness of the environmental cost of transporting many smaller shipments. Consolidating orders would require a little more flexibility on delivery deadlines, but customers would gain more precise delivery times—all while cutting emissions.
In addition, freight damage on truckload shipments tends to be lower than that of less-than-truckload, and shipping fewer trucks helped counter jumps in transportation costs. “It was a win-win-win all the way around,” Lester says. When COVID hit, Plaskolite’s orders increased, as the company is one of the largest producers of the barriers often used to separate cashiers and customers in stores and other businesses. At the same time, both truckload and LTL markets were contracting, shifting some shipments to intermodal. “We would not have been able to navigate that business activity in 2020 without ODW’s support,” Lester says.
Source: Inbound Logistics | https://magazine.inboundlogistics.com/view/407101472/134/