The Global Plumbing Group (GPG), part of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., is a global manufacturer of faucets and other plumbing supplies for such well-known brands as MOEN, Riobel, Perrin & Rowe, ROHL, Victoria & Albert, and Shaws. GPG distributes these leading products throughout North America, China, New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe. MOEN is the dominant consumer faucet brand in North America.
With a worldwide distribution network and global manufacturing position, GPG requires reliable and effective global supply chain and transportation management planning and solutions that ensure their customers receive their shipments as planned. Ongoing market and infrastructure challenges have added to supply chain complexity stressing the need for greater container logistics visibility, active management, and actionable freight data to address disruptions, boost cost savings and facilitate faster more effective cargo movements.
A number of GPG divisions’ products are manufactured in Asia. Shipments to North America have traditionally used U.S. West Coast ports as ports of entry.
Global Plumbing Group, ACS EDRAY Case Study
In 2020 – 2021, market and infrastructure challenges – port congestion, a supply/demand imbalance, blanked sailings, extreme rate increases, equipment shortages, and a global pandemic affecting industry labor pools –significantly impacted GPG’s container logistics.
Within this challenging environment, GPG found that the following areas needed to be addressed to enable them to more effectively manage their ocean supply chain costs, boost reliability and logistics performance:
· Visibility – There were multiple divisions with no connected visibility across all divisions
· Greater container logistics reporting and analytics
· The overuse of 20’ equipment
· Non-compliant, non-engineered packaging
· Insufficient coordination of inbound containers at destination, as well as drayage partners and performance
GPG was using 20-foot TEU container equipment which was a costly choice as compared to 40-foot containers. Twenty-footers are 80% of the cost of 40-foot equipment. Additionally, GPG’s packaging was noncompliant and non-engineered which could result in costly penalties.
Once containers were unloaded from a vessel, GPG didn’t have visibility to or actionable freight data that would provide the ability to actively manage inbound containers. Moreover, detention and demurrage (D&D) costs, drayage carrier performance, and exceptions weren’t being actively monitored and resolved to keep freight moving as fast and cost-effectively as possible.
From loading containers at origin to final delivery at destination, ACS USA, Inc. (Allport Cargo Services), an independent 3PL (third-party logistics provider), and EDRAY, the collaborative port logistics platform, joined forces to deliver seamless, fully integrated connectivity enabling real-time visibility to GPG’s in-transit, Transpacific container shipments. For the final import mile, visibility eliminated delays and “black holes” in the container journey.
This unbroken data flow offers a more effective way for GPG to manage inventory, control freight costs, and forecast and plan. Full system integration enables GPG’s entire organization to see each and every container.
The tracking of financial information on the EDRAY Platform, such as D&D costs, along with support from EDRAY’s team that actively manages GPG’s containers, provides a more favorable way to manage D&D costs and container equipment.
GPG and ACS have a long history of working together. The ACS team on the ground in Asia was key to GPG addressing the challenging market and infrastructure conditions impacting their shipments at origin.
Teams and technology – how it works
ACS with its Infor Nexus system sends the EDRAY Platform an Advanced Shipping Notice once a vessel sails at origin enabling EDRAY to track GPG’s shipments from that point on. The EDRAY platform provides real-time visibility – customs clearance and full, active destination management, which includes all aspects of GPG’s intermodal drayage requirements. Additional drayage capacity, when and where GPG needs it, is available via EDRAY’s Drayage Marketplace.
To ensure inbound containers aren’t held up at the port/terminal due to missing or incorrect freight data EDRAY scrubs vendor data, such as ETAs from ocean carriers, to improve data quality to ensure shipments aren’t held up due to incorrect data in vendor documentation. This data cleansing ensures high-quality, actionable data across the entire platform.
Container utilization and packaging
At origin, ACS reduced GPG’s use of 20-foot containers right-sizing the manufacturer’s equipment to boost cost savings. ACS also addressed problematic packaging issues by significantly reducing GPG’s CBM footprint of PacD designed SKU’s and optimized packaging material, carton fit, insert design, and product orientation. This resulted in transportation and operational savings.
The future looks bright for the GPG, ACS, EDRAY business relationship. This innovative and collaborative partnership will grow as the next stage of the relationship expands to include: chassis management, a drayage sourcing plan, and taking advantage of vendor coordination across Fortune Brands’ divisions to achieve the greatest cost-benefit through group negotiating power.