Guest Commentary: Dannon Saves Time and Money by Gaining Visibility into Transportation Process

As part of a webinar series on software-as-a-service (SaaS) TMS, the Director of Transportation at one of our clients, The Dannon Company, provided an overview of the benefits the company achieved by gaining greater visibility and control of its transportation process. Here are some of the highlights of what he presented.

Dannon, which is headquartered in White Plains, New York, is one of the top manufacturers and distributors of fresh yogurt in the United States. The company has been bringing good tasting healthy products to America for 65 years. Within the food and dairy industry, which is a very competitive market, yogurt is one of the fastest growing segments. The market has seen 30 percent growth in the past 30 years and yogurt consumption has basically doubled every seven years.

So, how does Dannon yogurt get to your grocer’s shelf?

Dannon operates in three manufacturing facilities with six 3PL distribution companies across the country. The Minster, Ohio plant is the largest yogurt manufacturing plant in the world, producing 230,000 cups of yogurt an hour (three million cups per day). Dannon utilizes third party trucks to help distribute products throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Prior to leveraging a true SaaS TMS solution, Dannon utilized a traditional on-premise TMS to manage its transportation process. However, the company realized that it needed to improve efficiencies in its carrier-related processes, as well as improve customer service and costs. Another pressure point with Dannon’s transportation process was outbound and inbound appointment scheduling. It was a manually-intense process, requiring time-consuming phone calls or faxes between the numerous departments at Dannon, the shipping facilities, and the carriers. The dock scheduler at each location was the only party with visibility to the entire schedule, creating bottlenecks and limiting alternatives. As a result, customer service was impacted by limited visibility to shipment status or the ability to monitor on-time delivery.

The company implemented a true SaaS solution to improve communications with carriers, capture and record every event in the transportation process, and make the information available to all members of the organization who needed it.

“Our initial implementation was much faster than expected — seven weeks instead of ten,” said the Director of Transportation, The Dannon Company. “Furthermore, additional modules were also implemented quickly which allowed us to realize efficiencies sooner.”

By gaining visibility into its transportation process, Dannon was able to:

  • Improve Order Fill Rate: More than 98% fill rate due to better inbound/outbound visibility.
  • Save Time by Scheduling Labor: Saved 1.5 hours per day due to improved appointment visibility and online scheduling.
  • Reduce Detention at Dannon Controlled Sites: Reduce detention costs at production and 3PL facilities by 80%.
  • Improve Carrier Performance: On-time pickup and delivery percentages are continuously improving, enabling increased sales to customers and better dock management in facilities.

“Visibility to shipment information throughout the organization is drastically improved,” continued the Director of Transportation. “With the addition of a true SaaS based TMS, Dannon is able to start building more collaboration between supply chain departments –Transportation, Customer Service, Product Deployment, Operations Planning and Central Inventory.”

With additional visibility, Dannon can proactively address potential issues in a more timely manner, such as late delivery to distribution centers or service failure to customers. By utilizing a SaaS TMS, Dannon can ship delicious dairy treats to your local grocer on-time and more efficiently.

Chris Timmer is Chief Operations Officer at LeanLogistics. Chris is responsible for overall strategy, positioning and growth of the LeanLogistics solutions, including SaaS platform development and deployment and the expansion of the company’s service footprint internationally. Chris has over 20 years of experience in transportation and logistics management and he regularly speaks at industry events and has been recognized as a leader in the SaaS solution space.