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Campbell Soup: A Shipper of Choice that offers carriers a seat at the table

Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) wants trucks be in and out of its distribution centers within 30 minutes.

Campbell, ranked number 7 in FreightWaves’ 2019 Shipper of Choice award, conducted in partnership with Convoy, has helped achieve that efficiency by turning to the carriers themselves for input on new distribution centers.

“They’ve given input on how you would optimize the flow – and how warehousing and yards were constructed,” said Dan Valero, senior manager for procurement and logistics for the New Jersey-based food company. “Some even gave input on where distribution centers are located.”

The Shipper of Choice Award, voted on by carrier members of the Truckload Carriers Association and Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) members, recognizes accessible facilities and minimizing detention times.

For Campbell, including carriers their distribution center planning reflects a larger culture of collaboration and transparency.

“We’ve been transparent with carriers about where the company is going,” Valero said. “Naturally we’re not giving away any secrets. All information is public. But not often are carriers reading about every company development.”

That line of communication ensures the company and its carriers are on the same page, particularly with changes in their networks. “That offers some predictability on where drivers are going to have to be deployed,” Valero said.

Cambpell works with about 60 to 70 carriers – down from 150. The company has made a point of shedding more transactional relationships to focus on stronger partnerships.

About 20 percent of those carriers handle 80 percent of Campbell’s freight. They include Schneider (NYSE:SNDR), J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ:JBHT) and Knight-Swift (NYSE:KNX).

Valero said there is only so much improvement that can be gained by looking at just its own shipper-carrier relationships.

“How do we work with customers to become receivers of choice?” Valero asked.

Campbell is working with Schneider and J.B. Hunt to collect data to better understand how its customers’ practices are affecting shipments.

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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