When contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers broke down, shoremen went on a work stoppage, which eventually led to a strike. As a result, containers were left to languish on the water for weeks.
CCTY Bearing Company was monitoring the progression of talks and began routing shipments through an alternate source weeks before the strike. This foresight allowed customers to keep their production lines on schedule without an increase in transportation fees.
When a six-year agreement covering 29 West Coast ports and 20,000 workers expired, the shipping season was reaching its peak due to the holidays. Ports along the entire West Coast were on a work slowdown. Container shipments were either waiting on the water for a slip or slowly unloaded from vessels.
Knowing that the negotiations were underway, CCTY Bearing Company continued to track deliveries and found that they were taking nearly twice as long from the port.
A majority of CCTY Bearing Company’s customers use just-in-time delivery. Without a timely intervention they were at risk of consuming safety stock without restock availability.
Since time was critical, CCTY Bearing Company began routing all container shipments through Vancouver weeks before the strike. In addition, the internal ERP system was updated to account for the increase in travel, so customers were quoted reasonable in-house delivery dates when an order was placed. And CCTY Bearing Company’s warehouse alerted team members when customer safety stock was reaching re-order points ahead of scheduled MRP to ensure adequate replacement levels.
As more manufacturers started using the Vancouver port, issues arose with the limits on rail transportation. CCTY Bearing Company only needed to air ship a small amount of parts since most of the customer stock was in-transit ahead of the backlog.
Within one month of the longshoremen contract settlement, all of CCTY Bearing Company’s shipments were back on schedule through the port. This is attributed to the continuous monitoring of transportation alternatives.
In the end, the CCTY Bearing Company solution proved to be:
• Time sensitive
• Forward thinking as clients were able to keep production lines on schedule
• Cost effective since customers did not incur additional air freight charges.