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"Shipper Of Choice" – It Can Be A Sweet Deal To Partner With Nestle


Being a "shipper of choice" is about being a good partner, and it often goes beyond the movement of goods.

In the case of Swiss food products giant Nestle S.A., the tributes come from companies that it has worked with across the supply chain. XPO Logistics, Inc., the U.S.-based transport and logistics provider, has handled transport services for Nestle in Europe for years, a legacy of the business managed by Norbert Dentressangle, S.A., the French transport and logistics company that XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) acquired in 2015. "We work extremely well together," said Richard Cawston, XPO's managing director for supply chain in Europe.

In June 2018, the companies announced they would build a 638,000-square-foot distribution center in Leicestershire, U.K. that will contain what Cawston called a "next generation logistics environment" to test future initiatives for Nestle's brands, combined with a "joint innovation laboratory" for XPO and Nestle technology teams. Such a project is the first of its kind for both. "The term ‘digital distribution center of the future' is accurate as far as it goes, but it doesn't convey just how transformational we expect this site to be," said Cawston. The site "gives us an ideal testing ground before pushing out each innovation," he said.

Though Nestle's Nescafe coffee unit was technically a client of consultancy Tompkins International, Inc., the two worked in what Tompkins spokeswoman Andrea Epstein called a "partnership fashion" on the projects that Tompkins helped implement. "They have an outstanding direct-to-consumer channel" and were "great to work with," Epstein said. "We think very highly of the Nescafé brand and its team," she said.

Nestle declined to comment for this story.

FreightWaves and Convoy teamed up to present the first annual Shipper of Choice Award to a top-notch manufacturer, distributor or retailer. The first-of-its-kind award was created to recognize shippers committed to eliminating inefficiencies from the supply chain and aiming to be excellent partners for their carriers. Nestle declined to comment on the award.

"The Shipper of Choice Award is all about increasing transparency as we highlight innovative best practices that keep freight moving and contribute to a healthy freight community," FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller said.

There are several ways companies can become known as "shippers of choice," including things as simple as providing bathrooms and coffee for drivers waiting to load at their docks. Being a shipper of choice also means working to improve on elements of the supply chain that have a bearing on goods movement even if they aren't specific to transport services.

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