Consortium standardizes logistics processes

A new consortium of carriers, suppliers, and retailers is defining standard processes to streamline the flow of goods from suppliers through distribution centers to stores. The ONE Retail Standards Board, announced by supply network services provider One Network Enterprises (ONE), includes transportation service providers Marten Transport and Werner Enterprises and retailers such as Publix and Safeway.

This consortium marks the first formal collaboration of these industry groups to standardize logistics activities such as appointment scheduling at distribution centers (DCs). Dispatchers currently spend 15% to 50% of each work day scheduling appointments by phone or fax, leaving messages and waiting on hold. The consortium's web-based appointment scheduling process allows suppliers and carriers to log on to a retailer's network hub, request appointments, and get immediate responses.

Suppliers and carriers use the same standardized tools and processes to work with any retailer on the network, greatly improving efficiency. Additional retailers can create new ONE Retail hubs and gain instant access to suppliers and carriers already trained in and using One Network tools and processes. Carriers can coordinate pick-up and delivery schedules because both processes are done using the same network and tools.

Because suppliers, retailers, and carriers share the new appointment scheduling process on the same network, all partners gain new visibility to vendor-controlled freight as well retailer-controlled freight. This provides 100% visibility of freight and associated orders in the pipeline, from the supplier to the yard and through the DC. Combined with web applications for Intelligent Execution Management, this enables rapid detection and resolution of potential supply chain disruptions by procurement, customer service, distribution, transportation, and inventory management.

The process includes automatic prioritization of orders and shipments based on demand, and the ability to balance that with inbound capacity. Because all order volume goes through the appointment scheduling process, companies can also automate and improve their vendor, carrier, and internal score carding using this process. Measurements can include order target delivery date versus appointment, on-time delivery, carrier dwell time, number of rescheduled appointments, and order quantity changes.

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