December 2011 | Sponsored | Above & Beyond

Freight Consolidation Drives Auto Supply Chain Efficiency

Tags: Customer Service

Automotive component supplier IAC needed better control, visibility, and reporting to help weld its supply chain into a cohesive unit. ProTrans delivered innovation and customized solutions designed to control costs along IAC's network.

THE CUSTOMER: International Automotive Components (IAC) Group, Southfield, Michigan

IAC is a leading global supplier of automotive components and systems, including door and trim systems, instrument panels, consoles and cockpits, flooring and acoustics systems, and headliner and overhead systems.

THE PARTNER: ProTrans International Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana

ProTrans International Inc. is a 3PL that focuses on capacity management and better visibility, with data support for efficiency gains and inventory management.


International Automotive Components (IAC) Group needed a more efficient way to coordinate and consolidate shipments among its 33 North American plant locations. The IAC plants are spread throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada, making capacity management, real-time data visibility, shared network flexibility, and intra-Mexico cooperation essential to success.

Because ProTrans serves more than 400 manufacturing locations in North America—with two-thirds of those customers in automobile supplies—there was a natural synergy between IAC's needs and ProTrans' capabilities and experience. For example, the 16 IAC plants located in the upper Midwest and Ontario were, on average, within just 90 miles of a ProTrans cross-docking facility. Moreover, the remaining nine plants throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia were only 150 miles, on average, from the nearest ProTrans cross-docking facility, and three plants were as close as 100 miles.

To address IAC's needs, ProTrans used its CORE supply chain management program, which focuses on control, visibility, and reporting. Using customized business intelligence software for logistics analytics, ProTrans allowed IAC to create tailored reports that give the company complete supply chain visibility.

"Operating the IAC business with our CORE program makes us a freight manager as well as a true operator in the network," says Shawn Masters, vice president of operations, ProTrans.

Additionally, ProTrans' ProMex Direct service enabled IAC shipments to move into Mexico without stopping for unloading, additional handling, or validation along the border. Freight was verified at one of ProTrans' northern facilities near the IAC plants, with brokerage paperwork filed while trucks were heading south. The crossing processing is streamlined to provide maximum transportation efficiency and velocity, and reduce overhead inventory carrying costs.

Finally, ProTrans provided IAC a Michigan-based management team to interface with the manufacturer's leadership at its Southfield home office. "We were initially impressed with ProTrans' overall program and its support of our manufacturing plants," says Craig Russell, North American logistics manager, IAC. "As we move through the implementation phase, ProTrans is displaying the innovation we were expecting in designing unique programs to optimize our shipments throughout North America."