Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., looking to enhance its competitive stance through more efficient tire distribution activities, has selected a Dallas-based provider of ``value chain management solutions'' to help it optimize its transportation and logistics systems.
After a six-month review of available service providers, Cooper chose i2 Technologies Inc., a 14-year-old Dallas company whose credo is ``eliminating inefficiencies to generate value.''
While Cooper's move is a step short of complete outsourcing, the move does involve i2 Technologies in Cooper's logistics network, which comprises nine distribution centers and four tire plants.
In explaining his company's choice of i2 Technologies, George McAfee, Cooper Tire's project manager, operations research-supply chain, said, ``We believe transportation is a competitive differentiator, because it really closes the loop on customer service.''
Cooper pointed out that customers, seeking to reduce their inventories in order to free up working capital, tend to order more frequently and in smaller quantities, as opposed to ordering large quantities and holding the inventory. With that natural migration toward smaller shipments, manufacturers are faced with rising transportation and freight costs.
As Cooper Tire experienced this shift in demand, company executives realized they needed to optimize their transportation processes to control spending and maintain high levels of customer service. The company's existing transportation management systems were stressed to meet the complexities of the evolving marketplace.
Cooper is using a two-pronged package of tools from i2 Technologies. The ``Supply Chain Strategist'' helps Cooper rationalize the distribution network and make demand-sourcing decisions within its distribution centers. Then i2's transportation solution system helps manage the movement of goods from the plants to distribution centers to customers.