Frazer & Jones is an iron foundry with a 210,000 square foot facility in Syracuse, New York. The company employs over 180 people and produces approximately 90 million castings a year for the mining sector and other industrial markets.
After years of managing their inbound transportation in-house, Frazer & Jones decided to conserve internal resources by outsourcing this function to Mohawk Global Logistics.
“It’s better with Mohawk because it’s easier to call and tell them that we have a pickup in this city and it needs to get to us as soon as possible,” said Myra DiCaprio, Shipping Clerk for Frazer & Jones.
Several months into the partnership, Pam Perdue, Domestic Supervisor for Mohawk, received a frantic call from Frazer & Jones. Their vendor in Texas made a mistake. Instead of receiving the custom part they were expecting–a replacement piece for the blast furnace that powers production for the entire foundry—they received a part they didn’t recognize.
They wanted to know where their part was so they could get their blast furnace, which had been down for maintenance, back up and running. If they didn’t get their part in the next two days, Frazer & Jones would have a total plant shutdown.
Since Perdue had set up the original shipment, she knew exactly who to contact at the vendor in order to get things rolling again. Apparently, the vendor had mislabeled two shipments, so what was on the outside of the pallet didn’t match the contents wrapped inside. The part meant for Frazer & Jones had been sent out on a truck bound for Mexico, while the shipment meant for Mexico went to Frazer & Jones.
“I spoke with the head of maintenance at the vendor and made arrangements for a replacement to be sent out immediately on a guaranteed service with a carrier that had a 99% on-time delivery rate,” said Perdue. “Trying to locate the original shipment would have taken way too long,” she said.
“We couldn’t let the foundry go down”
Tracking is included in Mohawk’s inbound program, and this move was no exception for Perdue. “We track every shipment, every day, several times a day. But if I know something is really hot, like this particular shipment, I watch it all day, hour by hour,” Perdue said.
Yet Perdue noticed something peculiar about the shipment within its first few hours en route. “I knew the freight would be moving through different terminals as it made its way to New York. And I wasn’t seeing any indication in the tracking system of the PRO number being scanned at any of those terminals,” she said.
This was concerning to Perdue. Since terminals scan the PRO number of every incoming shipment, if there was no record in the system of the shipment being scanned, there was no way to know where the freight was headed or if it would be delivered on time.
“I didn’t think it was moving in the wrong direction, as there were no records of the shipment being scanned at terminals in other regions,” she said. “Most likely, it was moving unmanifested,” Perdue said.
Not wanting to take any chances, Perdue took immediate action on her hunch. “I called every terminal on the route between Texas and New York and asked my contacts at each one if they could confirm that the freight had passed through,” she recalled. Over the next four hours, while she waited on hold to speak to clerks at eight different terminals, she simultaneously began planning an air freight shipment as a backup, just in case the part didn’t make it to Frazer & Jones in time.
“We couldn’t let the foundry go down,” she said.
“With our inbound program, the client is relying on us to make the right decisions on their behalf. You’ve got to know what you’re doing and who to talk to when you call the terminals. It takes a lot of time too, which is a precious commodity for a purchasing manager,” she said.
Her furtive terminal calls paid off. A clerk at the Syracuse terminal, the last one on the route, had located the shipment after following her request to do another dock sweep. Perdue had been right all along—the pallet had been moving unmanifested.
A truck was dispatched immediately for direct run to the foundry. The part was delivered at Frazer & Jones a few hours before their deadline.
With the part safely in their possession, Frazer & Jones was able to start production on schedule, avoiding a costly shutdown for over 100 workers.
“Mohawk was very professional in the way they handled the shipment,” DiCaprio recalled. “They rectified the shipper’s error and got the part to us. Everyone was happy,” she said.
Frazer & Jones found a perfect fit with Mohawk’s inbound program because it allows their purchasing department time to breathe. “Pam takes a lot off my plate,” DiCaprio said.
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