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AJ Baker & Sons Case Study

Despite a global pandemic, this retailer improved their supply chain team structure, visibility, and forecast accuracy.

Supply chain visibility is key to customer services for AJ Baker & Sons

After experiencing a lack of consistency and visibility from multiple logistics providers, AJ Baker & Sons chose C.H. Robinson to offer clear shipment tracking and communication that would allow for more positive customer experiences. Through close collaboration, a long-term supply chain road map and ongoing improvements, C.H. Robinson was able to help AJ Baker & Sons meet their supply chain goals.

Situation: Lack of visibility and consistency

AJ Baker & Sons is a family-owned business with a century-long history of providing quality refrigeration services to customers all over Australia. With customers across fast food chains, supermarkets, the hotel industry and commercial projects, providing the highest level of care and excellence is critical.

Over the course of many years, AJ Baker & Sons utilised multiple logistics providers to ship containers. Unfortunately, the company experienced different levels of service and visibility from one provider to the next. In fact, one provider consistently charged higher rates and offered lower visibility. The lack of consistency from each provider made invoicing and order tracking challenging. This in turn often caused issues with customers. “With business all over Australia, we need to know where every shipment is all the time,” explained Amanda Kaur, Imports Coordinator at AJ Baker & Sons. “While our previous logistics providers suited our needs for many years, by 2017, we had realised those relationships were no longer offering everything our company needed for success.”

Opportunity: Choosing C.H. Robinson’s global network

“When we first started looking for a new process, we had several goals in mind, including improve transit times, better visibility across the board, more effective container management tools, consistent pricing and the ability to accurately forecast deliveries,” shared Amanda.

AJ Baker & Sons researched many logistics providers with their priorities in mind. Representatives from C.H. Robinson were the first to truly feel like an extension of the AJ Baker & Sons team. According to Amanda, “Shaun at C.H. Robinson listened to us. He focused on our priorities and goals rather than pushing his own agenda.”

Ultimately, the team chose C.H. Robinson to lead their logistics transformation because the combination of people like Shaun and the extensive global suite of services C.H. Robinson could offer couldn’t be matched by any other organisation.

Solution: Embracing visibility and new ways of communicating

“When I started to work with AJ Baker & Sons, it quickly became apparent they needed a global logistics provider that could offer consistency, service and visibility across their supply chain,” stated Shaun. “I knew after just a few conversations that our ability to offer deep expertise would help them reach their goals.”

With their list of goals, AJ Baker & Sons worked with their team at C.H. Robinson to hone a personalised road map for the entire supply chain process. This included separate goals for each warehouse and division of the company to implement over time. C.H. Robinson’s experience working with the largest, most sophisticated shippers in the world helped AJ Baker & Sons eliminate many supply chain unknowns—including communication and visibility.

With C.H. Robinson’s technology, not only could AJ Baker & Sons monitor every single shipment from pickup to final destination, their customers could also access the online tool to track their orders directly. Using technology built by and for supply chain experts lead to a new level of visibility that reduced administration time, kept customers informed and offered a positive experience for customers that wanted to feel included in the shipping process.

“As the company’s Imports Coordinator, it’s my job to order all overseas sourced products for the business, including customs inquiries, payments and invoices,” shared Amanda. “Our newfound visibility to shipments with C.H. Robinson was a game changer. Their online tracking system is easy to use while offering more detailed and accurate reporting than we previously had access to, which makes it easier to make smart business decisions. It’s been a positive change for my team and our customer relations as well.”

Ah-ha moment: Seasonal supply chain pressure

The true test for AJ Baker & Sons new relationship with C.H. Robinson were certain urgent shipments that came up during the brown marmorated stink bug season.

The brown marmorated stink bug is a seasonal pest and biosecurity risk for all of Australia. Accordingly, many goods imported from the northern hemisphere required additional screening and treatments to prevent an infestation. These added requirements often lead to delays at international ports.

“Even when delays happened because of the brown marmorated stink bug inspections, the ability to continuously monitor our shipments was a game changer,” explained Amanda. “Because we knew where every shipment was, C.H. Robinson kept us apprised of any delays and offered suggestions and alternatives so we could still meet our deadlines.”

Outcome: Products in place to pave continued transparency

Choosing C.H. Robinson as their logistics provider has helped AJ Baker & Sons achieve many of their initial goals and create processes to achieve the rest. By working together with their C.H. Robinson account manager, AJ Baker & Sons have successfully improved communication and visibility, applied proactive order tracking and forecasting technology to their strategy and improved overall service to customers.

C.H. Robinson and AJ Baker & Sons will continue to focus on achieving all the changes set out in the logistics road map. Through collaboration and innovation, they hope to develop an even greater level of customer service and expand their offerings to new markets.

“Before we started working with C.H. Robinson, we recognised we needed a logistics change. But until we sat down with them, I don’t think any of us realised how much we could possibly improve,” explained Amanda. “Looking forward, I see endless possibilities for our logistics strategy and know that C.H. Robinson is just the logistics provider to help us with it.”

Shaun at C.H. Robinson listened to us. He focused on our priorities and goals rather than pushing his own agenda

- AMANDA KAUR
Imports Coordinator, AJ Baker & Sons

Even when delays happened because of the brown marmorated stink bug inspections, the ability to continuously monitor our shipments was a game changer.

- AMANDA KAUR
Imports Coordinator, AJ Baker & Sons

Looking forward, I see endless possibilities for our logistics strategy and know that C.H. Robinson is just the logistics provider to help us with it.

- AMANDA KAUR
Imports Coordinator, AJ Baker & Sons