Leading Shipper Uses New Advanced Visibility Features in Navisphere to Reduce Costs and Increase Efficiency

Interviewer: Thank you so much for joining us, Ryan. I'm going to have you introduce yourself and just share a brief description of Hometown Food Company, please.

Ryan Privett: Yes, great. Thank you for having me today. My name is Ryan Privett. I'm the Senior Director of Logistics and Planning for the Hometown Food Company. We were a divestiture from the J.M. Smucker Company about five years ago. Our big brands, you may have heard of Pillsbury, regional brands, Martha White and White Lily, Jim Dandy and Hungry Jack, pancake and syrup. We recently acquired, three years ago, Arrowhead Mills to add to our portfolio. Then just as of December, we added Birch Benders, pancake and baking mixes. I guess to summarise, we're now about a $800 million annual revenue company. We're a pretty decent-sized player nowadays.

Interviewer: That's huge. Lots of different brands under that umbrella, many I'm familiar with as a lover of carbs and breakfast foods. I'm really excited for this conversation. Great. We're talking a lot about visibility today, thinking about some of the challenges that maybe you faced in the past in your organisation by not actually having the freight visibility that you need in your supply chain and if you can share any specific example of a time you faced a challenge with that?

Ryan: It's funny you bring it up from visibility. I think just in supply chain in general, visibility is a problem, all the way up and down the chain. Now for us, if you go back five years ago when we started our relationship with CHR in building our company, we were already working on spreadsheets, we're working off the Navisphere before 2.0 was really a thing. We were using ad hoc reports and trying to do pivot table, just crazy mail manual efforts. When I say visibility was a challenge for us, visibility was a challenge. We had customers calling and complaining, talking, "Where's our trucks? They delivered."

I'd be like, "I don't know." Customer service would be calling and I'd be like, "I don't know." When we talk about visibility, that is a real big hot button for us, which ultimately led into the inability to answer simple questions from our customer service, from buyers that were calling us asking where their trucks were because we didn't know. We couldn't answer it. We'd have to pick up the phone, email, do whatever we had to do to try to find where the trucks were. When you're talking hundreds on the road at a time, which ultimately float into fines, which ultimately hit our bottom line.

Interviewer: I was thinking about with just the growth of your business and just how your volume must have just so expanded in the last several years. There's no way you can really add people to that problem. It doesn't scale. This effort to try to find the exception and the needle of the haystack of the spreadsheet gymnastics that you're having to do. I hear a lot of shippers talk about being in that state and in various states to try to find their way out of it. That specific challenge really resonates with what I'm hearing from a lot of shippers. Let's just focus in on your time with C. H. Robinson and last few years together with Hometown Food Company.

We've been able to start putting some solutions in place to help reduce those challenges. We'd love to just talk about and hear from you a specific example on a recent solution where C. H. Robinson has actually helped you to increase some of that visibility problem.

Ryan: It's a great question. As I go back to just the visibility in general from where we started to, hey, bring together our account team and getting CHR leadership sponsor to get some of these problems that we were facing escalated and move along through the CHR process pretty quickly. One of the pieces that was big for us was a very simple question that I was being asked by our CEO on a daily basis, did we win the day? It's simple, did we win? Did everything pick up? Did everything deliver? I couldn't answer that. I would go to my account team and say, "Hey, guys, did we win the day?"

We took that question and really expanded upon a whole dashboard through Power BI and through the Navisphere tools and really put together a nice toolset toolkit for my team and my constituents throughout our cross-functional partners to answer that question. Once we were able to say, "Hey, did everything deliver?" Which is a simple question. "Did everything get received by our customers?" It's another simple question. We were able to go from there and say, "Where are our problems?" and dissect that. In addition to just answering that question, it would float into the next piece, which was our customer performance dashboard is what we called it. Really answer when a customer or sales team is going to a customer for a meeting to say, "Hey, how are we performing?" This is what the customer feels and this is how we feel based off our data, on time from a number of POs, from POs late.

That type of stuff was easily to be accessed now that we hadn't got that visibility prior. I think between the win the day, the customer performance dashboard and even some a financial standpoint, we had some tools provided from a cost per mile, from an overall expenditure. Some of the stuff that you guys had from a tool, for Navisphere but more pointed to our specific issues that we were having with our customers.

Interviewer: What I'm really hearing from you there is, this is about configurability at scale because, what you need to win the day, how you specifically define that could vary across some different segments of your business. How your end customers perceive that really matters in that definition and some out-of-the-box solution that tries to do a one size fits all approach just isn't going to work in the complex scenarios that come up with visibility. Period.

Ryan: To build off that from a customer standpoint, each customer has a different definition of what on time is and what that means to them and how they look at it from a finding standpoint which ultimately comes back to us. That was definitely a customised solution was the way for us to be able to answer those questions.

Interviewer: Configurability all the way. Another thing I was curious about are, what are really the impacts and the outcomes on your supply chain when you have better freight visibility and proactive mitigation?

Ryan: You listed this earlier, when we talk about greater visibility, it really eliminates the answer of, I don't know or I'll have to get back to you. It's able at the drop of a dime to be able to know if a customer's asking, where our load's at? I can quickly pull-up through a dashboard. I can quickly say how are we performing to a salesperson. Customer service is asking a question or executive leadership is asking, I can provide those answers really darn quickly versus having to do a homework assignment on it. Now when we talked about, it's one of the things I've always brought up in our conversations internally. We talk about measurements, KPIs, what gets measured gets done. Before, we couldn't really answer was stuff where our transportation on time was delayed, where are we on fines specifically to OTIF.

We couldn't ever go back to our partners and I want to say challenge but also have a perspective of having the data. Ultimately, at the end of the day our conversation revolves around data to get anything done and being able to have it at our fingertips, being able to have the data source to go back to our partners and say, "Hey, actually we were on time or actually this is where we were at from the data provided to us," to ultimately drive to those reduction in OTIF fines.

That was one of the pieces that was a big win for us. One of the things I failed to mention earlier in one of the previous questions is, our competitive advantage from a Hometown Food Company, we feel is our service whether it's in full or on time. Those two components have really been a benefit to us through COVID. You mentioned earlier about people enjoying carbs.

We really benefited from that, people being at home because a lot of more people were baking. Our business really took off during that point which you saw from that recent acquisitions as well. Having those measurements, having the ability to monitor our service, measure our service and ultimately drive results through our service was able to produce a real outcome through that visibility.

Interviewer: That's excellent. I'm so glad to hear that and we continue investing in this space at Robinson, every component of a track and trace milestone from one end to another, make# sure that that we've just got the best data flowing through our system so that we can help you to find those exceptions and mitigate those fines and ultimately make those customers happy. Thank you so much, Ryan. Thank you for being a customer with us for these past few years and for joining us for this webinar.

Staying one step ahead of supply chain disruptions

Watch as Senior Director of Logistics and Planning for Hometown Foods, Ryan Privett talks about how having better visibility to their deliveries have helped their business save time, save money and deliver for their customers.

Backed by our supply chain execution experts, these features give shippers the power to mitigate and resolve disruptions—before they affect your deliveries. Tune into the conversation with Hometown Food Company to hear how having better delivery visibility made a difference in their supply chain. With the latest Advanced Visibility capabilities you can help unlock access to the timely, highest-quality data across your supply chain.

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