Chris Timmer, COO of LeanLogistics, posted a guest commentary on Logistics Viewpoints. The article shares the challenges and solutions of Topco Associates, one of the largest retail grocery cooperatives in the United States. Full article >>
Many industries have complex supply chains, but the food and beverage industry has some of the most unique issues. A great example of sophisticated transportation execution is Topco Associates. Topco provides sourcing, innovation, packaging, label management, quality assurance and nutritional assistance through store brand and private label services. The true competitive advantage Topco provides to members is based on the sourcing and aggregation of its volume. In addition, Topco offers a number of logistic services to its members, including managed freight services, consolidation distribution centers, dairy perishable distribution centers, and rapid replenishment.
Because of the complexity of member labels – 74 brands, 44,000 different items, and more than 1,000 different supply points – as well as the transactional nature of the company, Topco needed a transportation management system (TMS) with robust visibility and reporting capabilities. Topco also wanted to maintain control of its freight, while not adding any headcount.
After reviewing several solutions and deployment options, Topco selected a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. Since the nature of the SaaS model allows for an ideal cost structure for many organizations, Topco found the return on investment was large and easy to prove.