In a recent episode of Supply Chain Now, hosts Scott Luton and Greg White got the ball rolling with a light-hearted and relatable conversation, touching upon everyone’s favorite topics – beers and Costco hot dogs. While most of us enjoy a cold brew or a quick snack without much thought, Scott and his guests delved into the complexities that lie beneath these simple pleasures. By weaving personal preferences into a larger narrative about the intricate world of logistics, Scott set the stage for a deep dive into how leading companies ensure our beloved products reach us just right.
Understanding the Challenges: Stone Brewing’s Distribution Dilemma
Stone Brewing, founded in 1999, is a California-based premium craft brewer producing 6 million cases of beer annually. On this episode of Supply Chain Now, Stone Brewing was represented by VP of Operations Clint Graflund, who helps bring their popular and tasty beers through a complex web of logistics to their distributors, and eventually the end customer. Multi-stop full truckload deliveries of beer present unique challenges, demanding precision, efficiency, and above all, the assurance that the beer reaches consumers in optimal condition. Clint discussed the intricacies of ensuring just that, and while the journey from the brewery to the bar is filled with logistical hurdles, modern transportation solutions like Turvo TMS have stepped up to the plate.
Clint’s portrayal wasn’t just about trucks, timetables, and trade routes. It was a deep dive into the marriage of craft and logistics. In a world where consumers are more discerning, the demand for freshly brewed, perfectly preserved beer has skyrocketed. This places immense pressure on logistics providers to up their game, ensuring that quality isn’t compromised from the brewery’s gates to the consumer’s glass.
Zengistics: Unlocking the Potential with Turvo
In the logistics world, real-time insight is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity. Matt Zimmer, President of Zengistics, brought up the transformative capabilities of Turvo. Stepping into Zengistics after Turvo’s integration, Matt was quick to pinpoint what makes this software so indispensable: its real-time data visualization and actionable data that enables decision-making for users. In fact, Matt pointed out that Turvo was a significant reason for him joining Zengistics.
Matt elaborated on Turvo’s financial system and its multi-faceted approach to data presentation. The system doesn’t just regurgitate data; it offers customizable views tailored to different stakeholders in the supply chain.
He remarked, “The thing I’ve always loved about Turvo, and it probably drives the team crazy, is you can see it in real time. I know this load. I lost $180 in this load for three weeks in a row, I know what happened there. It allows you to make great decisions.” This real-time transparency doesn’t just enhance decision-making, it promotes accountability. As Matt added, “You’re able to hold your team accountable from a financial perspective and a service perspective.”
Matt also praised Turvo’s integration capabilities, emphasizing its 20 different API connections. “The collaborative nature of the technology, the data side of it,is really powerful in the way that the Open API works with other software pieces,” he noted. Turvo stands as a testament to what collaborative, integrated, and real-time software can bring to the logistics sector.
Stone Brewing: Crafting Solutions for Complex Deliveries
Craft beer enthusiasts are familiar with the distinct taste of Stone Brewing’s offerings, but few are aware of the intricate logistics that go behind ensuring that very consistency in every sip. Clint brought this perspective to the table, highlighting the complexities they face.
Stone Brewing, with two breweries and an intricate distribution network, often executes multi-stop full truckload deliveries. It’s not just about transporting beer, it’s about ensuring the brew reaches its destination without compromising its quality. Clint shared that their logistics strategy is pivotal in maintaining the brand’s reputation, ensuring that every bottle that reaches the consumer is as the brewmaster intended.
Moreover, every region has its regulations, temperature sensitivities, and other variables that need to be accounted for. This adds another layer of complexity to the process. Through innovative solutions and strategic collaborations, Stone Brewing continues to overcome these challenges, ensuring that their beers are enjoyed worldwide without a hitch.
Out of the Spreadsheet Weeds – Into the Cloud API
Clint spoke about how Stone Brewing’s logistics team was mired deep in the weeds, living in Excel spreadsheets day to day, trying to build these complex multi-stop truckloads by hand. They had no real insight or true method to measure and understand how they were doing and the efficiency or performance of those loads. This went beyond just looking at accessorial charges and fuel, but truly breaking down how to handle a coast-to-coast network both internally, and with distribution partners.
“So, you’re hitting 50 states. Where should we be manufacturing it? How often should we ask our distributors to place an order? We were kind of in a made to order situation with all of our distributors, brew to a forecast, and produce to order,” Clint explained.
Clint had no real familiarity with Turvo prior to discussing tools with Matt. He had heard of it, but never really explored its capabilities. “So, I was, sort of agnostic in terms of what tool that he used. We just talked about…this is how we need to look at things. He pitched Turvo and what they could do, and we were off to the races from there,” he said. Greg agreed with this mentality, stating “Technology is just a hammer, right? You’ve got to identify the problem that you need to solve and select the right technology or configure the right technology to solve that problem. That’s the only use for technology is to get you to your goal.”
Collaboration and Innovation
As the conversation flowed, one thing was clear: The logistics world can thrive on collaboration and innovation, but these capabilities are unique to Turvo TMS and Collaboration Cloud. Other TMS solutions are closed, and don’t enable the real-time interaction between carriers, 3/4Ls, shippers and other supply chain participants. Scott, with his knack for extracting insightful narratives from his guests, drove this point home. Every story, be it from Zengistics or Stone Brewing, underscored the importance of partnerships and the seamless integration of technology.
Modern logistics isn’t just about transportation—it’s about crafting a story where goods move seamlessly, challenges are anticipated, and solutions are innovatively designed. It’s about building connections, both in the literal sense of logistics routes and in the broader scope of fostering relationships with partners, stakeholders, and consumers.
Scott wrapped up the discussion, emphasizing a sentiment echoed by all panelists: While challenges are par for the course in logistics, harnessing technology like Turvo’s platform and nurturing genuine human connections can help navigate these intricacies. In essence, just as a brewmaster is devoted to his craft, achieving logistical excellence demands a perfect blend of innovation and collaboration.