Case study: Restoration Hardware rethinks the bid process

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.  — Frank Quint has put together a few transportation bids in his career. A veteran transportation professional, Quint found the process time-consuming and unwieldy.

“I’ve found that at the end of the bid, I never really felt like I was that much farther ahead than when I started,” the director of domestic transportation at Restoration Hardware told the audience Monday during a session at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/XPO 2022 at Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista.

Quint said that he left RH for a time to run his own carrier.

“For me, it’s finding the right carrier whose needs align with my needs,” Quint said. “I never realized until I ran my own carrier how hard it was to find a carrier.”

That is why Quint is bringing Trimble Transportation’s Engage Lane to Restoration Hardware.

“The typical bid process at Restoration Hardware would occur once a year around January and February,” he explained. “We would spend months building a Rolodex of carriers. If we got 100 or 120 carriers, we felt really successful.”

Then the actual bid process would start. At two to three months, though, Restoration Hardware would sometimes find that carriers that initially bid the lane could no longer fulfill the requirement, or the cost structure would be different.

“By the time you get to that point, especially in a tight market, the carrier has moved on,” Quint said.

Engage Lane allows both carriers and shippers to enter their baseline data, including what lanes they serve or need served. Then it helps match up the parties, explained Peter Coumounduros, general manager at Trimble Transportation.

“This product allows the connection,” he said.

Quint said his thinking over the years about the bid process has changed.

“The annual bid event doesn’t really support our needs at Restoration Hardware,” he said. “We need to maintain lanes.”

As costs change, carriers adjust lanes, and capacity needs changes, companies like Restoration Hardware are looking for the flexibility to adjust quickly. A tool like Engage Lane, Quint noted, also opens up doors to freight capacity at smaller carriers.

“The idea of how do we find more ways to [get carriers] together with shippers starts with the opportunity,” Coumounduros said.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Source: freightwaves - Case study: Restoration Hardware rethinks the bid process
Editor: Brian Straight