Robert Bosch Inc. Canada houses more than 55,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) in its Ontario warehouse facility, each business day shipping 600-700 orders to destinations coast-to-coast that range from small package shipments to full truckloads. The customer profile is similarly diverse, according to Distribution Manager Chris Dyer. “We ship to everyone from the corner garage to major automotive retailers, local hardware stores to national retail home improvement centers,” he says. “For example, a warranty shop might need just a couple of screws, but if they need them, their orders merit the same level of attention as does a truckload of table saws going to a national retailer.”

Challenge

Orders download to the warehouse management system (WMS) for fulfillment; parcel-size orders were picked and packed and then rated and routed using a commercial shipping machine. Large orders –truckloads (TLs), less than truckloads (LTLs) and rail car loads – were manually rated and routed, with paperwork being manually generated.

“Over time these procedures became unsatisfactory on several levels,” Dyer says. “Software support was unpredictable since it usually came out of the U.S., which could mean slow response times. Information was not readily available to our customer service teams. And, too often, we found ourselves limited to a single carrier for LTL shipments because we did not have an expedient way to source the carrier with the most economical solution, which would also satisfy our customers’ specific requirements. It was apparent that we needed a flexible shipping solution that would accommodate all types of shipments within a single system .”

Solution

Dyer said he researched the available options and “While some systems may have satisfied some of Bosch’s operational requirements, Descartes’ transportation management system (TMS), specifically the Pick, Pack and Ship module, had the best return on investment (ROI). Based on the vendor selection and review process, the Descartes Transportation Manager™ solution gave us the highest confidence level in meeting the implementation target, as well as providing ongoing timely support.”

The Descartes TM solution is a multi-carrier-compliant enterprise logistics software solution that provides efficient planning and execution of shipping and warehouse activities at touch points in the supply chain management process. Descartes’ TM helps support rules-driven automated routing of Truckload (TL), LTL, small package carrier, multimodal, fleet management and messenger services.

Results

The efficiencies achieved using Descartes are readily apparent, Dyer says. “ Descartes can handle all of our shipping needs, from the very smallest package to the largest full loads ,” he says. “We haven’t quantified savings at this point, but it is easy to see that they are significant. We’re through with handwritten documents: Descartes prepares printed, error-free copies automatically and quickly and this alone represents a major savings of personnel time.”