With an expansive supply chain that relies on over 70 contract manufacturers, including many in China and India, it’d make sense to assume that Prestige Brands would be mired in the same supply chain messes in the news every day. We’re all aware that many companies, such as those importing computer chips, building materials, and furniture (to name a few), are all struggling.
But it turns out the personal wellness product company had a plan and the right partners, including Jaguar Freight, in place to keep its supply chain flowing with minimal disruptions during the pandemic and through today.
“Of all the day-to-day challenges that come up for a large company like Prestige, we can say problems getting our freight delivered are nowhere near the top of the list,” says Prestige’s Director, Demand and Supply Planning, Kevin Cook.
This is no small feat because Prestige’s business has been severely impacted by manufacturing delays globally – it’s just not showing as much. From the outset of the pandemic, the company’s suppliers in Asia had trouble early on with 4 to 6-week shutdowns plus a ramp-up period of getting production up to speed again.
Being Creative and Mitigating Risk
However, the difference came by finding ways to adapt to and overcome those present and anticipated challenges. Understanding disruption was coming, the goal for Prestige and its freight forwarding partner, Jaguar Freight, immediately became to minimize the impact on cost and service, but most of all mitigate risk.
This process started first by opening up communication as much as possible to keep the data and information held within the supply chain flowing a few steps ahead of the product. Immediately, a vital extra level of communication was established between its material suppliers, the Prestige supply chain team, and Jaguar Freight to make this possible.
Necessary in that early stage was taking steps to adapt to the market conditions (many of which continue to this day), including;
- Increasing sourcing lead time for plastics, such as bottles and tops. Previous lead times of 8-12 weeks are now up to one year.
- Suppliers now provide Jaguar to provide 2-3 months’ notice on expected shipments, where it was one week previously.
- Planned delivery transit-time increased by two weeks, which has eliminated most late deliveries.
- Average transit time was six weeks but now runs from 8-10 weeks, increasing Prestige’s reliance on Jaguar Freight’s CyberTrax shipment to track shipments and manage freight data.
The pandemic has brought even greater attention to the idea of transparency and supply chain visibility, which is only possible with partners and technology that work together.
For Prestige, this meant Jaguar Freight needed to work in closer coordination with its domestic 3PL for PO management. Today, Prestige’s suppliers, Jaguar, and 3PL are all connected and in-the-know about what shipments are coming and can track the status of parts and materials on the PO and SKU-level – all with a 75% reduction in emails sent. The integration developed with Jaguar Freight and the warehouse showed everyone’s commitment to success and solidified the customer/ supplier relationship while ensuring the best data flow.
“We are coming out of the pandemic with stronger partner relationships and more visibility. This includes a deeper data connection with our freight forwarding partner, Jaguar Freight, and our domestic 3rd party warehouse. As challenging as the last year-plus has been for all of us, we are better off for it.,” adds Cook.
At times, more extreme measures have been needed to keep deliveries on track. Last-minute changes have included occasionally changing ports due to delays and other problems such as COVID slowdowns and labor shortages.
And, with changes can come extra costs and related concerns. Also part of Jaguar’s CyberChain platform is the ability to do cost reporting, which has been especially important to help understand the supply chain situation and impact. Reports have helped the Prestige team keep things in perspective, which fortunately most often turned out to not be as bad as perceived. With reporting, managing expectations has been easier.
Having the security that business can go on and that the right partners, technology, and plan are in place is a good place to be for Prestige. In a time when supply chains are getting more attention than ever – often not for the good things – a company that does NOT have transportation at the top of their list of worries is clearly doing something right.