ScottsMiracle-Gro: Getting the Right (Logistics) Players in Place for Its Big Game
Winning means shelves are stocked full of ScottsMiracle-Gro products right when spring arrives. Here’s how ScottsMiracle-Gro improved delivery performance and logistics with a strategic partnership approach.
Like football, many companies and their logistics operations have their own “Big Game”—a peak shipping season with make-or-break importance to their success. And like with every winning team, success only comes with a lot of preparation, hard work, and enhanced partnerships.
For ScottsMiracle-Gro, its critical time is the final lead-up to spring after a six-plus month build of inventory and getting their products delivered to key retailers all around the country. Winning means shelves are stocked full of ScottsMiracle-Gro products right when people around the country start thinking about their lawns and gardens as temperatures warm.
ScottsMiracle-Gro has a strong history of high service expectations, but it always strives for more, especially as the market is forever evolving. So, back in October 2021, Tony Botos, ScottsMiracle-Gro director of logistics, began preparations for the company’s 2022 spring season with a frank and honest review of what its lawn and garden distribution network could do better and drive its competitive advantage—world-class service.
Carrier performance management is a critical part of ensuring the season is a success. A service-focused mindset in logistics is driving on-time performance and high tender acceptance rates.
On the heels of two challenging years due to COVID and difficult freight market conditions in general, Botos saw an opportunity to make some enhancements. The time was right to reevaluate its logistics processes, including everything from its day-to-day operations, reporting and analytics, and ScottsMiracle-Gro’s portfolio of carrier partners.
Focused Priorities and Goals
After a lot of internal discussion and meetings with key partners, Botos and his team decided to prioritize some high-impact areas and focus on finding a smaller, tighter group of carrier partners. This included a new strategic partnership approach that eventually centered on a few key partners, one of them being Echo Global Logistics.
Not surprisingly, central to the initiative by ScottsMiracle-Gro, was utilizing technology as a key enabler. Looking to bring more visibility to their shipping operation for quicker identification of problems and speed time to resolution, ScottsMiracle-Gro built a process to leverage data analytics using Tableau.
Each morning, for example, the logistics team is able to see actionable shipping information in real-time, including awarded volumes, routing guide positions, loads not picked up—all of which help to drive more productive solution-oriented action.
The good news is that in 2022, ScottsMiracle-Gro has improved its delivery goals with the help of one of its strategic partners, Echo Global Logistics, amongst others.
“Leading into this year, Echo was already an established partner, but the greater connection we’ve made over the past eight months has helped us exceed our on-time delivery goal of 95%. Since March, Echo has been one of Scotts’ main carriers,” said Botos. “We’ve become more aligned on core company values, which has proven itself valuable through better service performance all around.”
ScottsMiracle-Gro’s competitive strength in-store includes always having products in stock. The simple expectation that their products will be available at the right time is the result of a lot of hard work, planning, and partnership.