By: Marjorie DePuy, Senior Director, Supply Chain and Sustainability, FMIiStock-108683811_web

We’ve written before about the headaches long dwell times can cause for both food retailers and suppliers. Long dwell times can strain carrier relationships, increase costs and hurt production. It’s a problem both food retailers and suppliers can agree needs to be addressed. That’s why the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), including both FMI and GMA, conducted a pilot project to examine the issues the impact dwell time. Reducing System Dwell Time Through Collaboration outlines the process of this pilot project, what we discovered and solutions.

The Dwell Time Pilot Project

For three months, we took a deep dive into the operations at four facilities:

  • Coca-Cola, Auburndale, FL.
  • Land O’Lakes, US Cold, Quakertown, PA.
  • Giant Eagle, Crafton, PA.
  • Wegmans, Rochester, NY.

For each facility, we tracked key metrics in a ‘Dwell Scorecard’ developed by our project partner, FourKites. Each week of the study, key attributes such as load number, live/drop, product type, and timestamps for key events were evaluated. The ‘Dwell Scorecard’ provided an accurate snapshot of what was happening on the ground. A group of supply chain managers and directors from each participating company took part in weekly calls along with their carrier partners. These calls involved looking at the scorecard data and brainstorming opportunities to reduce dwell time.

Three Key Dwell Time Factors

Each facility had their own unique factors impacting dwell time and each facility utilized different solution options. However, there were some prominent dwell factors we observed, including:

  • Imbalance in load volume by time of day and day of week.
  • Arrival delays/on-time performance.
  • Inefficient on-site processes such as check-in, dock assignments etc.

For each of these factors, we outline different solutions tested in the full report.

Solutions to Reducing Dwell Time

The major take-a-way from our pilot project is the power of data collaboration. Implementing robust, real-time reporting tools and combining that with collaboration throughout the supply chain can result in a reduction of dwell times that translates to a two to four percent increase in transportation capacity.

Download Reducing System Dwell Time Through Collaboration