2017 Analytics 50 Honorees

Meyer Natural Foods

Jeffrey L. Tanner, Director of Information Technologies
Meyer Natural Foods
Industry: Food and Beverage Manufacturing

Business Challenge

Meyer Natural Foods ships 1.5 million pounds of product per week, using more than 40 different carriers, to distribution centers across the U.S. Managing the freight cost is a significant portion of its business operations. The company needed better insight and data to ensure its product pricing was set to adequately absorb freight costs and to analyze and manage carriers.

Analytics Solution

Using BI tools from Qlik Analytics, Meyer Natural Foods linked data from its AP system with data from its order management system, resulting in a Finished Goods Freight analytical dashboard. With a common bill of lading number as the only related data point between the freight bills and the shipped orders, the company was able to use the BI tools to allocate actual freight cost to customer orders. Qlikview provided the opportunity to join the company’s pricing data to the analysis, allowing for variance calculations between actual versus planned freight costs per customer.

Impact

With this tool, the team identified customers with significant variance in freight costs and adjusted pricing to address negative variances. The team is able to evaluate carrier performance and, in many instances, negotiate better rates. Analytical dashboards give leadership a transparent and real-time analysis of freight costs from distribution warehouses by customer. Drill-down analysis and data pivoting give teams in-depth data analysis to help research issues and identify opportunities. Using this tool, the team identified $750 thousand of freight-related fees which, using the analytical tool, could be broken down into fuel surcharges, stop fees, or unloading fees. Previously, these costs were not available in the detail needed to adequately manage and mitigate. The tool has provided significant improvement in the visibility and analysis of freight costs, which aids in recovering these costs in customer pricing and ensuring best of price service from the company’s carriers and third party logistic partners.