Industry: Logistics and Transportation
Organization: Kuehne+Nagel, Inc.
When Kuehne+Nagel, Inc. outstripped its in-house trucking capacity amid massive pandemic disruption, it tapped BWS Logistics for assistance. What it found was a true, value-added partner. Not only did the 3PL provide additional capacity, but it also delivered exceptional communication, pricing transparency, freight visibility, and creative, cost-saving solutions. As a result, K+N was empowered to exceed customer expectations and cement long-term business relationships.
Delivering trusted global beverage logistics services
When beer, wine, and spirits producers across the globe move their carefully-crafted beverages to the US market, they turn to VinLog for help. Part of the K+N network, the beverage logistics services provider expertly manages everything from trade management and customs compliance to carrier price negotiations and track and trace—ensuring sensitive customer cargo arrives at its destination in perfect condition.
Through exceptional customer care and value-added service, VinLog has earned its sterling reputation among small and medium-sized wineries, importers, distributors, and multinationals.
Lack of capacity, fluctuating rates, and surprise charges
No logistics company went untouched by the seismic impacts of the pandemic, no matter how experienced and well-resourced. Securing trucking capacity was an immense challenge, as were wildly fluctuating rates. VinLog wasn’t immune.
“Our main issue was delivering containers on time,” says VinLog Drinks Logistics Manager Andres Suarez. “Our customers had commitments based on their customers’ orders and forecasts. Delays or capacity issues due to port congestion and other factors affected their final receivers.”
And Suarez’s headaches didn’t end there.
“Carrier and 3PL salespeople promised the best service, and they didn’t follow through,” Suarez says. “We also ended up with a lot of charges that weren’t part of the agreement.”
The result: A lot of work for Suarez, added customer costs—and plenty of uncomfortable conversations.
A seasoned team of logistics professionals that embrace the industry’s most difficult challenges
It was back in 2021 when the immensely-capable Suarez faced a problem he couldn’t solve alone. As a result of massive covid disruption, 400 of his customer’s containers were stuck in Louisville; neither the receiver or the steamship line had the capacity to move them out of the terminal.
He needed to sort out a solution—and fast.
That’s when he approached VinLog vice president for the US and Canada, Thomas Barfoed, for advice. In his previous role at a competing organization, Barfoed worked with a director of beverage logistics who later started a 3PL—and that team had demonstrated success in the beer, wine, and spirits segment. He suggested Suarez give him a ring.
That someone was Craig Allan, president of BWS—and Craig and his team rose to the challenge.
Helping VinLog exceed customer expectations and cement long-term business relationships
“With the help of BWS, we managed to get all those containers released within our time record,” says Suarez. “It was awesome the way they went the extra mile to ensure we cleared the backlog the steamship line created.”
As a result of that first experience, Suarez gave BWS more business. This time, a global beverage corporation needed containers moved out of ports all across the country—a task that outstripped his internal resources.
“When I thought about BWS, I thought they were going to be in the same boat,” says Suarez. “Honestly, I don’t know how they did it; they had magic up their sleeves. They pulled my containers on time and gave me updates twice a day. I was very aware of the appointment-making process and, as a result, I could deliver our customer regular updates.”
That satisfied is now a loyal VinLog client—and as VinLog has grown, BWS has scaled to support them.
Exceptional communication, transparency, and problem-solving capabilities
So, how has BWS created value for VinLog?
“They have the best customer service—best in class,” Suarez shares. “They’re the most professional people I’ve ever seen. Even in this difficult industry, where people are often frustrated, where there are lots of disputes and back and forth, they are very professional all the time. Craig and our dispatcher, Rose Hamer—they really pamper Kuehne+Nagel. They’ve got us spoiled.”
He also spoke about the importance of fee transparency.
“With BWS, there is full disclosure of the potential additional charges within the original quote. There are instances where there are no additional charges—but if there is anything, they let me know before pulling the containers and delivering to the customers. It’s impeccable. I don’t have to dispute many, and that gives us a sense of comfort.”
What’s more, BWS has delivered the pricing flexibility that enables VinLog to be competitive in the market while also taking on complex loads other carriers and 3PLs shy away from, like bulk tank beverage shipments.
And when Suarez had to manage a wine transload arriving at the Port of Houston and move it to Washington State?
“BWS told me prices going north would be more expensive, and I thought we’d have to pass additional costs to our customer. But they told me they could put the load over the train at no additional cost, as opposed to going by truck at an expensive rate. That was something that surprised me. They took the lead in finding a better solution. It took a little more time, but we completed the project successfully.”
Now, other regional offices at VinLog are reaching out to BWS for logistics support, too.
“BWS has been a solid business partner. When nobody has been able to assist us, especially in these difficult times, they’ve managed to do it,” Suarez says. “It’s been amazing.”
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