Unprecedented rate fluctuations, demand peaks, cargo bottlenecks, and shipping delays: transportation sourcing has had some rough times to contend with recently. But for one-stop logistics solutions company CJ Logistics America, the key to overcoming many of the challenges they faced was to leverage technology that could help them streamline administrative tasks and go to market quickly as and when the need arose.
That technology partner of choice for CJLA was Keelvar. From using the technology for running smaller events, the $10 billion+ North American logistics arm of conglomerate CJ Group has since used Keelvar to make incremental improvements to their sourcing processes over the past five years that have led not just to revenue growth, but more value for their customers.
In a recent webinar, CJLA Director of Supply Chain Solutions and Analytics, Basil Weaver, highlighted some steps taken to make their sourcing transformation journey a success.
Read some of our takeaways from that webinar below, and watch "Dynamic Market Sourcing: A Win-Win Strategy for Sourcing Leaders & Suppliers" on-demand here.
Match Your Sourcing Solution To Your Procurement Needs
Prior to partnering with Keelvar, CJLA's existing transportation business and procurement practices were very manual, spreadsheet-based, time-consuming, and slow.
"It took us months to execute a large procurement event, and there were times when we just avoided doing it because it was just so administratively heavy to do."
As a 3PL, CJL both administers RFPs by going to market as a buyer of services and responds to many RFPs as a provider. With 78 customers for transportation management and 53 RFPs so far, the company has to think about a lot of stakeholder opinions and technology platforms when running procurement events.
"[Therefore] it was very important to us to choose technologies that were easy to use," Mr. Weaver explained. "And the main thing we were trying to do [when we started] was to streamline the administrative aspects of bidding.
"But we had other needs that didn't really surface until later on in the process," he added.
Embed A Sourcing Strategy That Delivers on Commitments
Explaining the company's strategy, Mr. Weaver detailed how CJLA always tries to model integrity: “When we set a deadline, a milestone, or when we tell our providers that we're going to do something, we make sure that we do it.
"We expect them to deliver on their commitments and we want to deliver to them on our commitments,” he said.
"Integrity builds trust, and trust builds partnerships, which is very important in a historically challenging market."
Mr Weaver explained how during times of market volatility, partnerships have clear value to the organization and to CJLA customers.
"That's really one of the key advantages of being quick to market," he continued. "It also tells your providers that you very much respect their time and their efforts and all that it takes for them to respond to the events that that you're administering for them."
Capture Advantages By Going Quickly To Market
Having an approach, a platform and a technology for all markets has been key to CJLA's successful sourcing transformation, and Mr. Weaver explained that it enabled the company to operate effectively in both a "tight" market and a "soft" market.
"It's a buzzword but procurement has to move fast," he said. "Transportation markets change, they're cyclical, they go up and down across the globe. It's always been that way. They're constantly changing.
"Going quick to market allows you to capture advantages whether that curve is trending up or that curve is trending down."
"You want to choose your right time to market and be able to go quickly in capturing value on that changing market curve," he added.
Mr. Weaver explained that when CJLA implemented the right technology, they were better able to see value in large events that were once "cumbersome" to manage. This enabled the company to follow a Dynamic Market Sourcing strategy, creating a win-win strategy for both the company and their suppliers.
"Over the last five years, we figured out a better way to do these larger events. And because the bids weren't so painful, we were able to go more frequently.
"So we started to do many more events throughout the course of the year," he added.