Menlo Worldwide Logistics’ new Menlo Transportation Services offering focuses on driving value
October 06, 2011
Menlo Worldwide Logistics, the third-party logistics (3PL) subsidiary of freight transportation services provider Con-way Inc., has introduced its next generation transportation management portfolio, entitled Menlo Transportation Services.
According to company officials, this new offering is “designed to deliver optimized solutions that remove waste, create new efficiencies, and introduce Lean continuous improvement processes to transportation network operations.”
They explained that Menlo Transportation Services is comprised of two primary drivers: Solution Engineering and Transportation Management.
Solution Engineering focuses on leveraging Menlo’s technology capabilities to design efficient, reliable, and fluid global and regional transportation networks through various mechanisms, including assessing, benchmarking, and understanding the current state of transportation networks; identifying areas of waste and inefficiency using Lean tools and methodologies; and designing, testing, and optimizing alternative operating models and transportation network models, among other functions.
Transportation Management is centered on leveraging disciplined processes and technology to “execute a full menu of transactional transportation functions, according to Menlo officials.
These functions include: evaluating and sourcing transportation resources, managing freight transportation contracts and rates, and creating value and synergies with transportation service providers; tendering and managing freight shipments and confirming acceptance of planned shipments by carriers across all modes, including status of multiple events from pickup to in-transit monitoring through delivery; and settling and paying freight charges and auditing charges against contract rates, among other functions.
“What we are doing here is being driven by what we are seeing in the marketplace,” said Carl Fowler, Menlo senior director, business development, at this week’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Annual Conference in Philadelphia. “With our customers during the downturn we are seeing a lot of corporate supply chains’ procurement resources being stripped down when they started seeing rate pressure from North America-based carriers. When they started digging into it, they realized that supply chain management was more complicated than they thought it was.”
And as corporations began to dig into supply chain pressures, Fowler said they became fixated on rates, which tend to increase rather than decrease over a period of time.
This situation, he explained, led to Menlo’s customers asking for help in understanding exactly what was happening in their transportation networks, leading them to ask for advice on how to better buy transportation services, which essentially only provides a short-term window to do something else.
“One of the things we focused on as an organization was the concept of supply chain transformation,” said Fowler. “And one of the epiphanies we had was the things we held to be core like transportation and warehousing were really wasteful activities. Our customers’ customers did not really care about how the network ran or if they had world-class processes in their distribution network. It forced us to step back and reevaluate and redefine value…in terms of what value are we driving for our customers. It is not just about rate execution. It became about linking the business processes with the proper supply chain component to unlock the value in the supply chain.”
This concept in turn has become more important as capacity remains tight and rates and fuel prices increase, coupled with shippers lacking the resources or knowledge pool to deal with these things, which has led to them needing additional help and support from their logistics services partners.
Fowler added that when Menlo was looking at what the market was dictating relative to transportation management, the company approached it from the concept of delivered value, with customers needing something different today to effectively manager their network and use control of specific supply chain nodes to drive sustainable value, re-design business processes upstream and downstream to enable the synchronous flow of material, and deliver it at the lowest landing cost.
“Reconstructing this process was a natural fit,” said Tony Oliverio, Menlo vice president, supply chain services. “We went back and broke it down and reconstruct it with the Lean principle tenets built into our processes. This also includes how we go out and get customer to tell us what their [issues] are and how they define value so we can find where the opportunities to help them are.”
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