Happy Feet International is more than ready to meet the flooring needs of its partners and their customers. From its nine shipping origin points, the company supplies more than 1,000 dealers and distributors across the lower 48 states with its luxury vinyl plank products.
For its growing operation, Happy Feet looked to lower freight transportation and administrative costs, and improve carrier relationships and customer service.
To achieve this, Happy Feet was on the hunt for methods to manage LTL and TL shipping. A time-consuming, manual process hampered efforts to make on-time freight deliveries to their customers. The company’s leadership wanted a way to identify the most cost-effective shipping rates and to manage their carrier contracts.
Manual Processes: Costly & Time Consuming
A few years ago, VP of Logistics Mike Williams, joined the team at Happy Feet International. Their shipping process was a manual, paper-based process. They had no way to manage their carrier and broker contracts for shipping.
Getting freight rates from all their carriers and preparing RFQs was done manually with multiple emails and phone calls. Data errors were problematic and they had no way to ship more efficiently.
Happy Feet was also limited by manual processes and a lack of visibility. They weren’t able to select the most efficient carrier within their network. “We only knew about rates among nationwide carriers, and we weren’t able to easily find companies with a local or regional footprint who could offer a better deal,” Williams said.
The result was that they couldn’t leverage local carriers and rates.
The company was overpaying carriers by lacking the ability to audit freight and invoices effectively. And, while growing and expanding its distribution network, the flooring distributor faced increasing administrative costs.
Growth complicated things further. In 2018, Happy Feet was shipping its products across the country from two facilities. Today, the company has nine origin points, including company locations in Georgia and Tennessee, and 3PLs in Texas, California, Oregon and Colorado. Combined, the facilities are shipping more than 16,000 loads annually.
For Marshall Grafft, system administrator, the challenge presented by a lack of visibility into carrier networks was obvious. With Colorado located between company facilities in the southeastern U.S. and western 3PLs, it was not possible to determine the most cost-effective and efficient shipping origin without searching rates and contacting as many as 50 carriers for quotes on specific shipments.
Overall, the process at Happy Feet was both time-consuming and costly. Without an automated system, the company could not source freight carrying capacity at the most favorable rates, and it incurred higher administrative costs for tendering loads and managing carrier contracts.
Competitive Edge: Integrating and Automating Solutions
Today, a very different process is in place at Happy Feet and it’s generating measurable benefits and savings. In 2019, the company began using the Kuebix TMS platform through an integration via APIs with its legacy ERP system. A year later, when it adopted NetSuite as its new ERP, Happy Feet implemented an integration with Kuebix TMS.
With Kuebix TMS, Happy Feet can easily compare rates for different carriers and shipping origin points to find the best pricing and service. The company estimates it has now realized approximately $1 million in savings with improved day-to-day shipping decisions. Reporting and analytics capabilities are enhanced and improved with the integration of shipment data.
Rating integration enabled by embedding Kuebix TMS functionality in NetSuite produces immediate results. For example, to compare quotes for hauling a six-pallet load from Colorado, it now takes five minutes to compare rates using carriers from the company’s Tennessee facility and a 3PL in California. On that particular shipment, the lower cost option produced $500 in freight cost savings.
“That’s quite significant,” Grafft said. “We’re shipping three to five orders per day from Colorado, and that’s just one area of the country. Until we were able to use Kuebix and NetSuite, we didn’t have the ability to compare rates quickly. Now, we can get better pricing; opportunities we would not have without being able to look at more carriers. Service and price have been spot-on with Kuebix and it’s saving time and money.”
Mike Williams looks at the value of Kuebix and NetSuite from the standpoint of cost avoidance. In one scenario, if Happy Feet saved $350 per pallet by having up-to-date information to drive more informed decisions, it would save over $350,000 for every 1,000 pallets it ships.
Rate saving possibilities with Kuebix are also apparent when Happy Feet ships multiple orders to a single location. For example, if two shipments were sent from the same facility to a single customer and each weighed over the carrier’s LTL limit, the trucking company could add them together and charge a much higher truckload rate. Without the freight audit feature in Kuebix, that scenario could play out at least once per week.
“There’s an advantage to maximizing LTL loads, but before we had Kuebix, the process wasn’t automated, so we were paying a higher rate to ship empty space,” Grafft said. “It’s a balancing act that Kuebix very effectively helps address.”
See How Trimble and Kuebix Can Help You Optimize Freight Transportation
From lowering freight transportation and administrative costs to improving carrier relationships and customer service, having the right technology in place can help you enhance all aspects of your supply chain.
Check out the full Happy Feet case study to learn more about how Trimble and Kuebix have helped them streamline critical business processes and how we can help you, too.