Prompted by continuous growth and increased domestic freight shipments in 2006 -- up to 2,000 a week -- STERIS decided to consolidate its LTL (less than truckload) regional and long haul operations and award one enterprise-wide contract for domestic freight.
Also driving the search for a single carrier was the company's experience with past disconnects caused by having multiple carriers and too many parties involved in hand offs at borders, and at warehouse and terminal operations. These factors led STERIS to issue an RFQ (Request for Quotation), and the search for a new carrier began.
"We sought an experienced, national carrier that would provide us with quality, on-time delivery service. It was also critical that the carrier collaborate with us on an ongoing basis to identify opportunities for improvements and cost savings. Most importantly, we needed a carrier who would support our hard-earned reputation for great customer service and represent us to our customers with a seamless transition," said Jack Stablein, Corporate Transportation & Logistics manager, STERIS Corporation.
The customer service aspect was critical. Whether a customer uses its capital equipment like surgical tables and lights, consumables for the critical care environment or service parts for STERIS and other equipment, STERIS has an overarching philosophy for delivering results to its customers. "Our customers come to us for high-quality products, which must be delivered on time, installed correctly, and work as expected. Our focus is to keep customers happy, and this commitment keeps customers coming back," said Stablein.
UPS Freight was awarded the final, consolidated contract from STERIS based on numerous factors that made the company a good fit for STERIS' needs. As a regional carrier for STERIS, UPS Freight already had established an open line of communication through its on-site coordinators and with decision-makers at the top. Its advanced technologies and services and proven capabilities also were very attractive to a company like STERIS Corporation, which puts a premium on customer service.
Since the new contract was awarded, STERIS Corporation and UPS Freight have been applying the teamwork characteristics that have helped both companies achieve leadership roles in their industries. They have sought solutions to STERIS customers' unique challenges such as how to consolidate equipment coming from multiple manufacturing sites for JIT (just in time) deliveries; how to manage the delivery of capital equipment to facilities without loading docks or dedicated receiving departments; and how to avoid damage to shipments by using special labels and lifting apparatus.
When it comes to keeping customers happy, services such as UPS Freight's guaranteed/ expedited deliveries for STERIS service parts shipments and the use of technology by UPS Freight drivers, all of whom are equipped with hand-held DIADS to make frequent updates, have enhanced STERIS' visibility and service to customers. The company is just beginning to access QuantumView®, UPS's portfolio of visibility technology that provides proactive status information about shipments, in its international operations in Canada.
In addition to technologies and solutions, the support from UPS has been a key factor in meeting STERIS' needs. Two UPS Freight employees work on-site at STERIS and serve as the 'go-to' contacts for questions and needs like tracing shipments, filing claims or tracking invoices, giving STERIS immediate resolution to frequent queries. STERIS employees cite the ease of interaction between UPS Freight's onsite employees, STERIS employees and the customers as an example of what keeps the relationship strong. One STERIS executive said the high level of trust given to UPS Freight on-site employees goes so far as to sometimes allow them to make decisions as though they were STERIS employees.
"One of the things we greatly appreciate about UPS Freight is that its employees rarely say no," said Paul Snyder, senior logistics specialist. "They will make the changes we ask when needed, but if they know of a better way to do something, they come back to us with other viable options. Together, we find the best solution."
UPS Freight has raised on-time delivery for STERIS to an all-time high of 98.5 percent, up from 96 percent at the time of consolidation.
Other highlights include:
These improvements not only have kept customer satisfaction high, but also have made STERIS a strong proponent of the single carrier model for its domestic freight. In fact, STERIS was so pleased with the "seamless transition" from several carriers to its enterprise-wide LTL solution that it set a precedent in 2007 by awarding UPS Freight its "Supplier Recognition Award." This marked the first time the award had ever been given to an LTL or truckload carrier.
"STERIS Corporation inspires us to do our best because they hold such high standards for themselves and for us as their carrier. We've developed a truly collaborative delivery system that brings out the best in us all," said John Fain, vice president sales and marketing, UPS Freight.
"Together, STERIS and UPS Freight are delivering results for customers."
Contact us for your healthcare supply chain needs.
Vice President Sales and Marketing, UPS Freight
A global manufacturer of medical equipment and consumables needed a quality, consolidated delivery solution as well as help maintaining key customer relations via a single carrier model.
UPS's portfolio of visibility technology, distribution solutions and customer support was key to consolidation.