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Supply Chain

Leverage Tech to Reduce Transportation Costs

Randy Cooper

Randy Cooper

Director of Transportation at Del Monte Foods

Randy Cooper, Del Monte Foods

Successfully managing costs for your transportation strategy involves considering the cyclical nature of the industry. While fluctuating costs are unavoidable, there are smart ways to explore outsourcing to reduce spending.

Quartz Network Executive Correspondent Britt Erler sat down with Randy Cooper, Director of Transportation for Del Monte Foods to discuss how your company can leverage technology to reduce cost.

Randy shares insight into:

  • How small to mid-size companies can reduce transportation costs
  • The kind of partners that help with managing cost
  • Improving how you manage third parties

Quartz Network: Can you share some context around your current role and your specialty?

Randy Cooper: Right now, I’m a Director of Transportation at Del Monte Foods. Been there about 6 years and prior to that and including that, I have about 20 years in the transportation management industry. Worked for a third party prior to Del Monte Foods and have a lot of different experiences with different supply chains.

Quartz Network: How do you leverage technology to reduce costs?

Randy Cooper: In my experience, we tend to use technology to help fill gaps where there might be some that you can’t feel within the company that you’re with. We’ve been really successful with looking outside the company in terms of TMS or Transportation Management Systems. The providers we use typically have teams that are supporting us as well but it is a big technology play. Using BI, we use Tableau, but there are a lot of platforms out there that you can use to make sure that you have good insight into your data both looking forward and backward.

I think we’ve done a good job embracing some of the new digital platforms that the carriers are using—the digital brokerages—that I think can really get out and engage with some of the smaller carriers that are out there. My team of three people, including me, just don’t have time to go out and find that really solid carrier that might only have 10 trucks.

Quartz Network: What recommendations do you have for small and midsize companies to reduce costs?

Randy Cooper: Outsourcing is a lot of my answer. I know that when you get down into some of the lower tier companies, they might have one person that’s spread over three or four different functions. So if they don’t have the expertise, especially in transportation, where there’s a lot of costs tied up in transportation, if you can just outsource to some of these great companies, that is all they do. I think you can really mitigate a lot of the cost, especially in a market like what we’re seeing right now.

Quartz Network: What has your experience been like in terms of best reducing costs?

Randy Cooper: Even if you take the advice of outsourcing something, carrier relationships are not something that I would suggest outsourcing. If it’s truly not a core competency with your company, then there are companies out there that can help you with that. We have found, in our experience, that if we can keep the relationships with the carriers, then we can weather some of these tough market storms that we find ourselves in at times.

Quartz Network: What are some obstacles organizations might face as they look to reduce costs?

Randy Cooper: One of the things that’s really important, especially from a transportation management strategy, is you are not going to win year in and year out. Transportation is cyclical. I think you build your strategy so that you can win more years than you lose.

We’re in post pandemic world where Manufacturing is taking off. If you bid 6, 8 months ago, you’re in trouble right now. I think what you have to do is make sure that your strategy—your core strategy—is going to look great in a year, like this year when over the road carriers are charging an arm and a leg in some cases. That may mean using a dedicated fleet because you have a lot of customers that you need to service at a high level. But when you have a real loose market, then it’s not going to look as good. So it’s really incumbent on you, as a leader, to make sure that you educate those around you why you do what you do. In the long run, it’s a sound strategy.

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