Brambles’ big buy in the US of A

Brambles has acquired LeanLogistics, a leading provider of technology-based transport and supply chain solutions in the USA, for US$45 million cash.

The chief executive officer of Brambles, Mike Ihlein, said the acquisition would enable CHEP to provide a new and value-enhancing service to both existing and new customers.

“CHEP views and tracks millions of pallet movements through more than 21,000 locations across the USA every day,” Mr Ihlein said. “As a result, CHEP has a unique and immediate view of transportation in the USA across a wide range of manufacturers, logistics service providers and retailers.

“LeanLogistics provides on-demand network optimisation solutions to more than 40 major corporations, including many in the fast moving consumer goods sector, with a network in excess of 4,000 transporters.

“Combining CHEP’s extensive customer and information base with LeanLogistics’ customer network and innovative technology will enable us to offer a service that reduces transportation costs and optimises supply chain efficiency. By helping our customers and carriers to operate more efficiently, the acquisition of LeanLogistics will also strengthen our commitment to delivering environmentally sustainable solutions,” Mr Ihlein added.

Kevin Shuba, group president, CHEP Americas said the acquisition of LeanLogistics was a very exciting development as it would enhance CHEP’s customer service offering in the important and growing USA market.

”We will now be able to offer customers the ability to optimise transport routes and reduce empty transport miles by using the most efficient transport provider available. This will be possible through the leveraging of CHEP’s extensive database of supply chain movements and the innovative technology of LeanLogistics,” Mr Shuba said.

No government approvals are required for the acquisition, although completion is subject to normal conditions precedent. The acquisition is expected to be completed on 7 March 2008.

LeanLogistics is based in Holland, Michigan and employs more than 50 people. It was founded in 1999 by a team of highly recognised professionals with many years’ experience in the USA transportation and third party logistics industries.

LeanLogistics supports over 40 major corporations with 20,000 users interacting with more than 4,000 transporters – about 150 million transactions are processed annually.

LeanLogistics’ key service offerings include:

• On-Demand TMS – a web-based transportation network that provides complete daily planning, execution, settlement and procurement functions. On-Demand TMS currently processes five million shipments a year, representing over US$4 billion in annual freight charges;

• Managed Transportation Services – an innovative and customised combination of On-Demand TMS software and business best practices that enables customers to outsource transportation related activities while retaining strategic relationships and contracts. Managed Transportation Services delivers increased efficiency and reduced transportation costs.

LeanLogistics’ major customers in the USA include:

• Procter & Gamble

• Unilever

• Pepsi Americas

• Barilla America

• Bay Valley Foods

• Chiquita

• Johnsonville Foods

• Meijer

• Pinnacle Foods

• Otis Spunkmeyer

• Kellogg Company

Lean Supply Chain Management, 3-4 July 2008, Parramatta

Lean Supply Chain Management, a two-day course supported by the Australasian Production and Inventory Control Society (apics), will provide information on how to optimise logistics solutions such as Lean, S&OP and MRPII.

The interactive course, presented by Bill Belt and Phil Heenan, will offer practical principles and case studies that demonstrate improvements achieved by implementing Lean, S&OP and MRPII.

The topics to be discussed include creating a high-performance supply chain, managing variable demand, improving supplier performance, reducing inventory while ensuring excellent customer service, and implementing tools to improve reliability and coordination.

Companies and organisations hoping to learn how to implement and benefit from Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII/ERP) and Lean Thinking are recommended to register.

For more information on registration,

please visit

Lean consulting service aims for sustainability

CHEP Asia-Pacific has urged its food supply chain partners to think about sustainable distribution right across the supply chain, not just within company boundaries, to secure the future of an increasingly fragile food supply ecosystem.

Speaking at the Sustainable Supply Chain Forum in Sydney, the President of CHEP Asia-Pacific, Howard Wigham, said all parties would benefit if they minimised operational risks – both physical and environmental – while identifying new opportunities from the changing landscape.

“CHEP recognises that there is an opportunity to help food producers respond to climate change and increasing input costs,” Mr Wigham said. “While our expertise isn’t in food production, we can share our experience in food distribution.”

“In an environment of constrained supply, reducing waste, shrinkage and spoilage throughout the supply chain becomes critical.”

Mr Wigham said CHEP’s expertise in managing reusable, returnable supply chain packaging solutions could play an important role in helping the food industry to respond to sustainability challenges.

Best Results Australia organised the forum. Participants, including some of Australia’s largest food retailers, processors, wholesalers, growers, seed companies, banks and financiers, were told the only way to achieve sustainable agricultural supply throughout Australia’s farming community was through industry collaboration and wide scale change to existing supply chain practice.

The chairman of Best Results, Patrick Byrne, said CHEP could play an important role in reducing waste and input costs.

Mr Wigham said CHEP was seeking opportunities to work more closely with the food industry to ensure knowledge is shared more effectively.

“CHEP is in a unique position to observe the movement of fresh and processed goods through the supply chain – and we operate in 44 countries around the world,” Mr Wigham said.

“We want to build collaborative bridges with our supply chain partners, working with our customers and the industry to remove waste – compressing time, cost and space through lean thinking, reducing environmental footprints through green thinking and reducing physical harm by thinking safe.

“We have listened to our customers and many feel they would benefit from advice on lean consulting. We’re developing a new service in this area and would like to hear from organisations who’d like to participate in a pilot program,” Mr Wigham said.

For more information contact CHEP Asia-Pacific on

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