ICAT Logistics - Brazil Case Study
Proven Logistics Success: The Magic is in the Details, Expertise and Relationships
How a Leading Freight-Forwarder Overcame the Obstacles and Drove Top Results and On-Time Delivery from Brazil to Detroit
By: Neil Clavano and Dezarea Wright, ICAT Logistics - DTW
ICAT Logistics, Inc. (ICAT) is well-known for its expertise, commitment to customer service, and expansive domestic and international network of partners to ensure each shipment is completed on-time and within budget. Recently, ICAT Logistics in Detroit, MI (ICAT DTW) overcame several logistical challenges, requiring their team to consistently think outside-the-box to guarantee the job was done and the client was fully satisfied.
Tight Timeframes and Definite Deadlines
In the first part of June 2016, an existing customer reached out to the ICAT DTW team with a need to have automotive parts transported from Thailand to the United States in order to meet a late-August deadline.
Throughout the month, the team worked diligently with the customer to confirm key activities and the next steps needed to achieve the transport in the given timeframe. While going through the process, a technical incompatibility glitch was detected in Thailand in the first week of August. This resulted in the customer cancelling the sourcing of the parts with that particular manufacturer with only 3 weeks left before the looming deadline.
Faced with an ever-decreasing window of opportunity to successfully complete their customer's project, ICAT DTW's team sprang into action to come up with some alternative sourcing options that would fit the bill and get the job done.
Through some local partners in Brazil, ICAT DTW was able to get in contact with a supplier based on information relayed to them by their customer. ICAT contacted the supplier to confirm the production schedule and availability of parts the customer required. The most important part of the detailed schedule was the need to expedite the customs process for the materials to leave Brazil, which typically takes 3-4 weeks on its own. Based on this information, the ICAT DTW team developed a thorough plan to ensure timely delivery of the parts.
Once the plan was set into motion, the parts were transported via an exclusive truck from their production center to Sao Paulo, Brazil, a journey that took 3 full transit days to complete due to mountainous and rural roads. In comparison, standard truck service in Brazil for this lane is approximately 5-7 days. From there, the parts were picked up on the 12th, received into the warehouse by the 15th, and, with a team of 15 people working 12 hours a day, packed and made ready for presentation to Brazilian customs on the 16th of August. The packing process involved heat-treated and custom crates, VCI plastic for water protection, desiccants (drying agents), and foam protection to avoid any scratches.
Through ICAT DTW's strong relationships with local partners and agents on the ground, the customs process was completed in only three days (as opposed to the typical 3-4 week period) by the evening of August 19th, clearing the way for the parts to begin their airline transport to the United States.
On-Time Completion Amidst Intense Travel Congestion
The automotive parts successfully arrived in Detroit on the evening of August 21st, just in time for delivery to the customer by the initial target deadline of the 22nd. This feat was achieved despite multiple challenges along the way, coupled with the Olympics being held concurrently in Rio de Janeiro, which created extraordinary pressure and congestion in local air travel.
ICAT DTW's success was met by utilizing unique elements:
• Problem-solving with a creative, out-of-the-box approach, to seek an alternative solution to get the job done when roadblocks arose in the initial plan;
• Leveraging relationships on the ground in Brazil to facilitate the packing and processing of the materials, as well as the expediting of the customs process to ensure all tasks remained on schedule and nothing fell through the cracks;
• Having a thorough, detailed project documentation structure, expert team, and tight feedback process, along with a hands-on, dedicated approach; and
• Operating throughout with a passion for the best client outcome, treating each step of the project as a main priority.
Additionally, the success ICAT DTW achieved on this project resulted in the generation of additional business from this particular customer right away, due to the confidence they felt in their expertise and ability to deliver on their promises.
Supply Chain Success is Founded on Business Cornerstones
Creativity, innovation, relationships, and open feedback are the cornerstones of ICAT DTW's approach, as evidenced in this particular situation.