Acumen Distribution has now secured full supplier status for complete inbound movements to all of Johnson Controls Automotive’s (JCA) UK facilities.
The multi-million pound contract will also cover the management of JCA’s supply chain including collection planning from between 70-80 parts suppliers throughout Europe and the UK, as well as select outbound movements to lineside at JCA’s carmaker customers.
“We provide the outbound from Redditch to JLR at Sollihull, so we are doing synchronous delivery into the plants as well as parts inbound,” said John Stocker, Commercial Director, Acumen Logistics Group. “It really is an integrated logistics partnership.”
Acumen Distribution began working with JCA in 2003 when it took over the contract from DHL to streamline JCA’s supplier base and inbound parts deliveries to the company’s facility in Burton. It has since grown that contract to include all seven of JCA’s facilities in the UK.
“As each contract has come up for renewal it has been bid and we were given preferred supplier status,” Stocker told Automotive Logistics. “We’ve had to be competitive on every one, but basically they realised it was more efficient for one supplier to handle the whole network rather than each plant doing its own thing with its own individual suppliers.”
Instrumental to the success of those bids, said Stocker, was Acumen’s ability to offer flexibility around resource levels that have brought significant cost savings for Johnson Controls. Integral to that has been its AcuLogic management system, which it inherited with the business it took from the AutoLogic Group in 2005.
“It gives us a whole raft of processes that we can use to receive orders, to translate those into call-offs or to create advanced shipping notices. It is also designed to help us manage other partners through the whole system.”
Acumen has grown its own fleet of trucks from five to 60 and established an “all encompassing” lead logistics partnership with hauliers throughout the UK and Europe.
“Whether we are using other companies’ trailers or our own, whether we are using dedicated vehicles or whether we are using third parties, the system enables us to monitor and track everything that is going on.”
Looking ahead Stocker sees further growth despite recessionary pressures. “As a business we are well placed in a recession,” he said. “We have increased our turnover from £3.5m ($5.7m), when we bought the business four or five years ago, to £10.9m. We are debt free and have a strong balance sheet. We are very much in growth mode.”