Red Bull's taste testers may find themselves up at night, but not the company's logistics managers. The highly caffeinated energy drink, a staple among college students, athletes and nightshift workers, hit the U.S. market five years ago. And though detractors deride its sickly sweet taste, it remains the most widely sold beverage in the category, reportedly enjoying doubledigit annual growth.
But with growth come challenges. To ward off nightmares, the company's North American division last year decided to outsource its logistics operations to Ozburn-Hessey Logistics. OH Logistics is now Red Bull's single national provider, handling more than 16,000 shipments of the energy drink during 2004 and opening five locations in five states in the first 90 days of operation.
"Red Bull needed a premium logistics provider to help us achieve our supply chain strategies," says Rob Steere, the company's director of operations. "Our decision to partner with OH Logistics was based upon their flexible warehouse network, transportation management capabilities and their strong information technology offering, which provides us with Web-based visibility to our supply chain." Steere says that since March 2004, when the agreement kicked in, OH Logistics has saved Red Bull several million dollars.