OC Reilly Blog: The Education of Edward Don

By Ray Clegg, Director of Logistical Operations, OC Reilly Inc.


Edward Don & Co., a foodservice equipment and supply provider of more than 90 years of experience, knew something was wrong, but identifying and correcting the problem was proving more difficult than anticipated.

Eventually, the solution came in the form of a comprehensive and critical self-examination of its logistics-related issues.  The August 2013 edition of Logistics Management magazine tells the story in more detail, but here are the highlights:

“Just a few years ago, Edward Don’s efficiency was being challenged by a series of logistics issues.  Its competitive bid process was skewered, complex, and not always data driven…the company’s corporate traffic manager recalls negotiating rates separately with a series of trucking partners, but was unsure that it was always securing the best rate.  When there were problems, it was difficult to ascertain the cause because carriers rarely were held accountable,”

This kind of scattershot approach to purchasing and negotiating contracts can be seen as a common gripe among multiple large organizations and across multiple industries. But regardless of the industry or organization, it’s never the optimal means of managing supply chain or logistics.

Only after Edward Don realized that the answer to its efficiency problem first required looking inward, could meaningful change occur.  Again, citing from the magazine article:

“The logistics team discovered that they had to change the way the company procured logistics…what began as an attempt to realize savings on its freight bill actually expanded into a fully functional logistics solution…the savings were significant. Last year, company officials reported that they saved 7 percent on their freight spend, while its savings over five years have been nearly 12 percent on a sustained basis.”

Important and sustainable cost efficiencies can be achieved, but only after committing to the occasionally difficult – but ultimately high-return – process of critical self-examination.  The OC Reilly team has seen this happen over and over with our clients, and we urge you to start this effort as soon as you can.

Copyright 2013 OC Reilly Inc.