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Case Study: New Transportation Procurement Approach Lowers Costs, Improves Service

Shaw Industries Group, the world's largest carpet manufacturer, needed a TMS to improve transportation planning. Learn how a new automated planning system provided flexibility to manage intricate network and growing product mix. By MMH Staff

Shaw Industries Group, Inc. rules the “carpet corridor,” the stretch of Interstate 75 in northwest Georgia where most of the world’s carpet is made. With approximately $4.8 billion in annual sales, Shaw is the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, and a large-scale producer of many flooring and turf products. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., the conglomerate controlled by billionaire businessman and investor Warren E. Buffett. Berkshire’s 2001 acquisition was, and remains today, a tribute to Shaw’s financial strength and dominant competitive position. 

Over the years, Shaw broadened its domestic manufacturing beyond its main Dalton, Ga. location. Today, Shaw sources raw materials for production, and finished goods for distribution, from vendors outside the U.S. It supports a growing commercial and residential end market through 33 U.S. regional distribution centers (RDC).

 As its geographic footprint and product lines expanded, Shaw’s transportation requirements became more complex and, at the same time, more relevant to its overall value proposition. It was at that time that Shaw took a hard look at its transport operations and saw a need for change.

RFPs for trucking services would often take several months to execute, a lengthy and frustrating process. Shaw had limited capability to execute bids on a frequent basis, making it difficult to secure truckload capacity in a timely manner and to fully optimize its transport spend. Inbound and outbound planning was a challenge because Shaw’s RDCs could not receive real-time in-transit updates from its carriers. It couldn’t conduct robust analyses of customer buying patterns and service needs, which made it hard to tailor optimal delivery solutions. Shaw performed many transport-planning tasks manually, or with aging IT systems that couldn’t keep up with the growing complexity of its business

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