Breaking down silos to fill the gap between transportation planning and execution

Bridging the gap saves businesses millions on transportation spend. “Kimberly-Clark expects a supply-chain technology upgrade will save the consumer-goods supplier millions of dollars annually while improving product availability.”(Logistics Management)

Kimberly-Clark, a household name synonymous with quality consumer goods, has not just embraced change; they’ve set a new bar for it. The details, outlined in a recent Logistics Management article by Bridget McCrea, present a case study in transformation that’s as much about innovation as it is about savings—and we’re talking savings in the multi-million-dollar range.

In an era where digitalization is no longer a buzzword but a business imperative, Kimberly-Clark has applied a mix of machine learning and optimization algorithms that have recalibrated their transportation networks to impressive effect. The journey to this point was neither simple nor easy, but it was essential, as Scott DeGroot, the company’s VP of Global Planning and Logistics, attests.

The challenge was as clear as it was daunting: how to streamline order fulfillment and optimize transportation when dealing with a hefty volume of goods that need to be shipped out daily? The answer lay in breaking down silos and enabling various systems—like TMS and WMS—to communicate and share data seamlessly. In pursuit of improved availability and margins, Kimberly-Clark began their quest for a solution.

Enter LevelLoad, a cloud-based jewel that has allowed Kimberly-Clark not only to observe and manage the dreaded “bunching” of orders but to dance around it with grace. This software has provided the company with a bird’s-eye view of potential constraints and facilitated a more fluid movement of goods that aligns with customer delivery expectations and operational capabilities.

What makes LevelLoad and, by extension, Kimberly-Clark’s approach so compelling is the pace at which it operates. In DeGroot’s own words, “A human being can’t do this fast enough.” And he’s right. The intricacies of modern supply chains require a solution that is as rapid as it is intelligent.

This isn’t just about being quick on your feet, though. This move towards optimization has a dual benefit: financial savings and a smaller environmental footprint. By maximizing truckloads and reducing variability in daily shipments, Kimberly-Clark not only saves on transport costs but also strides forward in their commitment to sustainability.

As the WSJ’s Logistics Roundup underscored, the benefits of such innovations are expansive. From single pilot sites to a North American-wide application, the implications are as clear as they are inspiring. For Kimberly-Clark, this is merely a chapter in a broader saga of digital transformation that spans procurement, production, and demand planning.

The lesson here for businesses large and small is unambiguous: the intersection of technology and business processes can yield revolutionary results. It’s not just about adopting new systems; it’s about reshaping processes to fully leverage the potential of these technological advancements.

In a marketplace where logistics can make or break a company’s success, Kimberly-Clark’s story stands out. It’s a testament to the power of innovative thinking and the relentless pursuit of efficiency. And as we look ahead, one thing becomes increasingly clear: in the realm of logistics and supply chain management, the future belongs to those who are bold enough to redefine the rules of the game.

For companies eyeing their logistics operations, pondering over their next cup of coffee how to replicate such success, the answer is not in the caffeine but in the courage to embrace technologies like LevelLoad. As Kimberly-Clark has shown, it’s a journey well worth embarking on.

Close the Gap between Planning and Operations