The Vollrath Company is a global supplier of foodservice equipment, supplies and serving systems. With approximately 800 shipments/day (4,000/week; 206,000/year), the company implemented Descartes Transportation Manager™ (TM) to support growth and increase control over its transportation processes. The Descartes solution streamlined transportation planning—boosting efficiency, improving the customer experience, and reducing costs through optimization and best carrier selection.

The Challenge: Supporting Growth While Controlling Over Freight Spend

Vollrath ships foodservice equipment, supplies and serving systems to a diverse array of customers—from hotels, schools, and supermarkets to restaurants, government, hospitals and more—with its largest volume of products shipped to food and equipment distributors. Managing a growing business, multiple LTL carriers, and demanding cross dock distribution requirements, Vollrath needed to increase the efficiency of its shipping processes. The company sought to eliminate time-consuming, manual transportation planning and execution to increase productivity and reduce freight costs through better carrier selection, consolidation, and rate optimization.

A key pillar of our company mission is to advance the art of hospitality through dependable quality and reliable service. In addition to reducing freight costs across our three business divisions, the Descartes solution increased shipping productivity and reliability, helping us to elevate our customer service and strengthen carrier relationships—big wins for us.

        -Jenifer Westergaard, Transportation Manager, The Vollrath Company

The Solution: Multi-mode Transportation Planning Curbs Costs   

Vollrath has an annual freight mix of less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload (TL), parcel, and fleet. To streamline its supply chain and curtail rising freight costs, the company implemented Descartes TM in February of 2018, integrated seamlessly with the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. In early 2020, the Descartes solution will also be integrated with the Solochain warehouse management system (WMS) from Generix Group.

“Coming from a legacy WMS and inefficient manual transportation management practices, we knew we needed to overhaul our enterprise-wide transportation processes for greater operating efficiency and cost savings,” explained Jenifer Westergaard, Vollrath’s Transportation Manager. “With the Descartes solution, we achieved immediate savings just by turning it on!”

With its business growing and shipment volumes escalating, the system also allows Vollrath to use route guide capabilities to assign a carrier or group of carriers for customer-required planning. Westergaard noted, “Instead of defaulting to one specific carrier, Descartes TM enables our planners to select the most effective parcel carrier based on a combination of customer requirements and costs.”

For LTL, TL, and drop-ship deliveries on behalf of distributors, the Descartes solution automates carrier selection, assessing a range of decision criteria established by Vollrath, including contractual obligations, shipping lanes, shipment priority, cost, and carrier past performance.

“We work with 8-10 contract LTL carriers and do a lot of pooling or cross-docks. With optimized carrier selection, consolidation, and a real-time view of rates, we can offer more reliable service and keep costs in check. It’s been a total gamechanger for us—and for our bottom line,” said Westergaard.

Future plans include the implementation of the inbound planning tool for supplier shipments, and taking advantage of additional Descartes TM features, such as electronic tendering, electronic invoicing for parcel, and real-time exception-based visibility of shipment status for partners and customers.

The Results

Enhanced Customer Serviced

Descartes TM enables Vollrath to efficiently and cost-effectively meet the delivery requirements of its largest customers—food and equipment distributors—via optimized pool distribution, automated carrier selection, and streamlined drop shipments.

Freight Savings

By analyzing complex logistics optimization parameters, the Descartes solution enables more efficient and cost-effective carrier, shipment consolidation and rate optimization.

Improved Shipment Coordination

With help from the Descartes solution, Vollrath has enhanced control and coordination over a high volume of freight movement to a diverse customer base.

Increased Planner Productivity

Descartes TM eliminated time-consuming manual transportation planning processes, enhancing the productivity of Vollrath’s small team of planners and allowing them to optimize freight purchases for greater operational efficiencies and cost savings.