Sammy Killebrew is struggling to clear his head after a
lengthy and unpleasant meeting with the CEO at Vital-E Nutrition (VEN). The
company, a manufacturer of temperature-sensitive liquid and powder nutritional
supplements, has had some high profile transportation disruptions and customer
service failures over the past month.
The CEO was quite distressed about a spoiled product
incident due to refrigeration unit failure on a company trailer, a number of
missed pickups that resulted in late deliveries, and a lack of in-transit
product visibility. The spoiled product incident led to $250,000 worth of
product being destroyed. The late deliveries nearly cost VEN a major client.
And, the visibility problem prevented VEN from rerouting a delivery away from a
retailer that entered bankruptcy the day prior to delivery.
No matter how Sammy tried to explain that the problems were
neither his fault nor things that VEN could have predicted, the CEO wasn’t
interested. She didn’t care to hear about equipment failures, driver shortages,
or weak technology. “Customers don’t blame the trucking companies in these
situations. They blame us for picking the wrong carriers,” the CEO emphatically
“Stop focusing on getting the lowest transportation rate,”
the CEO continued. “Sammy, saving $100 per truckload delivery doesn’t do us a
bit of good if we lose a shipment or a customer. Instead, hire carriers who
have the expertise and technology to avoid these problems. Can you find those
types of carriers?”
Sammy assured the CEO that the problems would be solved. His
job at VEN was on the line and Sammy needed to quickly find some innovative
solutions to these transportation woes.
1. What types of track and trace capabilities could help VEN
detect temperature problems and respond before the product is ruined?
2. Are autonomous trucks a potential answer to driver
shortage problems that plague VEN’s transportation providers? Why or why not?
3. What value could VEN derive from the analytics
capabilities being embedded in a state-of-the-art TMS?