Earlier this summer, FourKites hosted the Operator Visibility Summit. This is an online event. One of the speakers is Abby Weisenberger, a distribution consultant for Kimberly-Clark + 0.5%. What makes Ms. Weisenberger’s presentation particularly interesting is that while Ms. Weisenberger leads her digital shipping program, she is in distribution rather than transportation. FourKites is a leading provider of real-time traffic visibility solutions. Not surprisingly, many FourKites users are in the transportation business.
KimberlyClark is a public consumer goods company with revenues of more than $19 billion last year. The company’s multi-billion dollar brands include Huggies disposable diapers, Cottonelle and Scott toilet paper; Kleenex facial tissues: and Kotex feminine hygiene products.
The consumer goods giant promotes continuous supply chain productivity through its FORCE (focus on reducing ubiquitous costs) program. The program has saved 3.5 billion U.S. dollars in the past 10 years. What deserves attention is what KimberlyClark (KC) does in the supply chain field.
Digital Heat Load Support
“KimberlyClark knows that making its processes visible is an important step in improving efficiency,” Ms. Weisenberger said. “KC needs a solution… to understand the burden of the entire organization” based on “source of truth”. This is the company’s first step towards the digital transformation of maritime transportation.
Historically, KC distribution relied on information from other departments. Management processes such as trailer groups and stops, the time the carrier driver is on site, and tracking heat load requires information from non-distribution systems, as well as collecting paper forms filled out by employees or drivers.
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Through their transportation visibility solution, they can see a picture of command and enable them to actively understand which merchandise stocks are at risk of being late. With visibility solutions, the company can develop a warehouse work plan to ensure that when goods come in, workers are ready to unload trucks, or when outbound trucks are arranged at the dock, pallets are ready to be loaded. .
“Heat Load” enables companies to run a lean supply chain while still meeting customer service expectations. Hot loading can also reduce the full-time fines used by major retailers to ensure they get what they ask for when they promise.
A heat load occurs when an outbound truck destined for a customer’s site is parked at the shipper’s distribution center due to the customer’s need to get some inventory on the truck. Once the inbound cargo arrives, the inventory is unloaded, and the “hot” inventory is moved to the loading dock and loaded onto the outbound truck. At KC, hot upload used to be a laborious process involving multiple emails.
Being able to effectively handle heat loads requires accurate arrival time, truck inventory visibility, and process efficiency. Now planners can simply search for transportation visibility solutions and know when the goods actually arrive. They can see the goods 30 minutes before they arrive. This knowledge can be used to speed up door registration and loading dock assignments. “It really simplifies the process,” Ms. Weissenberg explained.
Digital transformation requires more than visibility
Digital transformation requires more than visibility. It requires new and more efficient ways of working based on technology. In the past, many of KimberlyClark’s supply chain efficiency programs ended at the gate of the terminal. The
transport visibility solution allows them to go beyond the dock doors. They are implementing Dynamic Yard to better understand their trailer inventory and understand the useful life of that inventory. This will result in a better process for assigning trailers during shipment planning. This used to be a paper-based process. Now, it is possible to digitally generate special instructions for the driver in advance, such as special instructions on where to place the empty trailer. Now the gate, yard, and facility data needed to improve transportation plans flows seamlessly.
The figure above shows the typical driver process for FourKites that has been determined to be a delivery site with a typical residence time.
At KimberlyClark, Ms. Weisenberger said the project team checked some steps in the document and asked “Why?” Why can’t the driver scan directly at the door? Why does the driver have to get out of the car, enter the cargo office and sign the cargo document?
If all information is entered correctly ahead of time, if the scan informs the truck that the truck has arrived at the facility, and if KC uses digital technology to instruct the driver on where to drop off the load prior to arrival, there is no reason to that the driver not only scan the door.
Similarly, if a driver can sign an electronic document in advance, there is no reason to visit the delivery man. The driver will save time, except in exceptional circumstances.
From a process simplification point of view, Weisenberger explained, “It’s not just about ‘where is the truck?'” Also, where is the information that needs to flow with the truck?
Simplification of this process also depends on the cooperation of operators and drivers. KimberlyClark members must enter the necessary information in advance. However, this is a win-win situation. By entering information, the truck stays in motion and generates revenue.
KimberlyClark has not implemented these new and more efficient document processes, but they are working on them.
Final Thoughts
uses real-time shipping visibility to improve the distribution process in a leadership position. Most commonly, these solutions are used to improve transportation processes.

By Peter

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